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Direct Diagnoses of Stratosphere–Troposphere Exchange

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

This study discusses the direct diagnosis of stratosphere–troposphere exchange. The method introduced by Wei is applied to the Goddard Earth Observation System assimilated dataset. In many respects, the results generally agree with those of other studies using the same method and different datasets. However, sensitivity tests and theoretical considerations indicate that the instantaneous two-way exchange may be significantly exaggerated by the Wei method, because the method is rather sensitive to input data errors such as those that are invariably present in assimilated datasets. The method becomes somewhat better conditioned as the results are more heavily averaged, but this also reduces the method’s ability to diagnose two-way exchange. Additionally, when the flux across various surfaces is averaged over the globe and the entire year, the result implies unrealistically large imbalances in the annually averaged mass budget of the stratosphere. This could be caused by modest biases in the model used to perform the data assimilation. Since pure model simulations have an internal dynamical consistency that is lacking in assimilated datasets, the analysis appears to explain the fairly large discrepancies between the two-way fluxes obtained in studies using models and those obtained in studies using assimilated datasets. It may also explain the discrepancies between the net fluxes obtained by the Wei method and those obtained by other methods.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Andrew Gettelman, NCAR/ASP Program, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.Email: andrew@ucar.edu

Abstract

This study discusses the direct diagnosis of stratosphere–troposphere exchange. The method introduced by Wei is applied to the Goddard Earth Observation System assimilated dataset. In many respects, the results generally agree with those of other studies using the same method and different datasets. However, sensitivity tests and theoretical considerations indicate that the instantaneous two-way exchange may be significantly exaggerated by the Wei method, because the method is rather sensitive to input data errors such as those that are invariably present in assimilated datasets. The method becomes somewhat better conditioned as the results are more heavily averaged, but this also reduces the method’s ability to diagnose two-way exchange. Additionally, when the flux across various surfaces is averaged over the globe and the entire year, the result implies unrealistically large imbalances in the annually averaged mass budget of the stratosphere. This could be caused by modest biases in the model used to perform the data assimilation. Since pure model simulations have an internal dynamical consistency that is lacking in assimilated datasets, the analysis appears to explain the fairly large discrepancies between the two-way fluxes obtained in studies using models and those obtained in studies using assimilated datasets. It may also explain the discrepancies between the net fluxes obtained by the Wei method and those obtained by other methods.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Andrew Gettelman, NCAR/ASP Program, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.Email: andrew@ucar.edu

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