The Origin of Temporal Variance in Long-Lived Trace Constituents in the Summer Stratosphere

Peter G. Hess Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington. Seattle, WA 98105

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James R. Holton Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington. Seattle, WA 98105

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Abstract

Temporal variances in the concentrations of N2O, CF2Cl2, CFCl3 and CH4 in the summer stratosphere at a midlatitude location have been measured by Ehhalt and others. A simple dynamical model is used to argue that these variances are created by irreversible mixing associated with the springtime final stratospheric. warming. Tracer perturbations generated during the warming are advected passively in the zonal mean easterlies so that the tracer variance is effectively frozen into the summertime stratosphere. Temperature perturbations, on the other hand, are subject to radiative dissipation; the temperature variance created during the final warming relaxes quickly to an ambient value.

Abstract

Temporal variances in the concentrations of N2O, CF2Cl2, CFCl3 and CH4 in the summer stratosphere at a midlatitude location have been measured by Ehhalt and others. A simple dynamical model is used to argue that these variances are created by irreversible mixing associated with the springtime final stratospheric. warming. Tracer perturbations generated during the warming are advected passively in the zonal mean easterlies so that the tracer variance is effectively frozen into the summertime stratosphere. Temperature perturbations, on the other hand, are subject to radiative dissipation; the temperature variance created during the final warming relaxes quickly to an ambient value.

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