On the structure of the extra-tropical transition layer from in-situ observations

Year: 2012

Authors: Pisso I., Law K. S., Fierli F., Haynes P.H., Hoor P., Palazzi E., Ravegnani F., Viciani S.

Autors Affiliation: UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Université Versailles St-Quentin, CNRS/INSU, UMR8190, LATMOS-IPSL, Paris, France 2ISAC-CNR, Bologna, Italy 3DAMTP, University of Cambridge, UK 4University of Mainz, Germany 5ISAC-CNR, Torino, Italy 6INO-CNR, Firenze, Italy

Abstract: In-situ observations of atmospheric tracers from multiple measurement campaigns over the period 1994-2007 were combined to investigate the Extra-tropical Transition Layer (ExTL) region and the properties of large scale meridional transport. We used potential temperature, equivalent latitude and distance relative to the local dynamical tropopause as vertical coordinates to highlight the behaviour of trace gases in the tropopause region. Vertical coordinates based on constant PV surfaces allowed us to relate the dynamical definition of the tropopause with trace gases distributions and vertical gradients and hence analyse its latitudinal dependence and seasonal variability. Analysis of the available data provides a working definition of the upper limit of the ExTL based on the upper limit of the region of high vertical CO gradient in PV relative coordinates. A secondary local maximum in vertical O3 gradient can be used a proxy for the lower limit, although it is less clearly defined than that of CO. The sloping isopleths of CO and O3 mixing ratios and the CO mixing ratio gradient are consistent with isopleths in purely dynamical diagnostics such as ?30 d, the proportion of air masses in contact with the PBL within one month and underline the differences between the PV based and chemical tropopauses. The use of tropopause relative coordinates allows different seasons to be analysed together to produce climatological means. The weak dependence of dynamical diagnostics of transport on the absolute values of tracer concentrations makes them a suitable process-oriented tool to evaluate global chemical models and make Lagrangian comparisons.


Volume: 12      Pages from: 28033  to: 28068

More Information: 10.5194/acpd-12-28033-2012
KeyWords: Extra-tropical Transition Layer
DOI: 10.5194/acpd-12-28033-2012