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Philip B. Russell
and
Patrick Hamill

Abstract

Recent experimental results indicate that little or no solid ammonium sulfate is present in background stratospheric aerosols. Other results allow straightforward calculation of sulfuric acid/water droplet properties (acidity, specific gravity, refractive index) as functions of stratosphere temperature and humidity. We combine these results with a variety of latitudinal and seasonal temperature and humidity profiles to obtain corresponding profiles of droplet properties. These profiles are used to update a previous model of stratospheric aerosol refractive index. The new model retains the simplifying approximation of vertically constant refractive index in the inner stratosphere, but has sulfuric acid/water refractive index values that significantly exceed the previously used room temperature values. Mean conversion ratios (e.g., extinction-to-number, backscatter-to-volume) obtained using Mie scattering calculations with the new refractive indices are very similar to those obtained for the old indices, because the effect of deleting ammonium sulfate and increasing acid indices tend to cancel each other.

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Patrick Hamill
,
O. B. Toon
, and
C. S. Kiang

Abstract

Physical processes which affect stratospheric aerosol particles include nucleation, condensation, evaporation, coagulation and sedimentation. We carry out quantitative studies of these mechanisms to determine if they can account for some of the observed properties of the aerosol. We show that the altitude range in which nucleation of H2SO4-H2O solution droplets can take place corresponds to that region of the stratosphere where the aerosol is generally found. Since heterogeneous nucleation is the dominant nucleation mechanism, the stratospheric solution droplets are mainly formed on particles which have been mixed up from the troposphere or injected into the stratosphere by volcanoes or meteorites. Particle growth by heteromolecular condensation can account for the observed increase in mixing ratio of large particles in the stratosphere. Coagulation is important in reducing the number of particles smaller than 0.05 µm radius. Growth by condensation, applied to the mixed nature of the particles, shows that available information is consistent with ammonium sulfate being formed by liquid phase chemical reactions in the aerosol particles. The upper altitude limit of the aerosol layer is probably due to the evaporation of sulfuric acid aerosol particles, while the lower limit is due to mixing across the tropopause.

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Patrick Hamill
,
R. D. Cadle
, and
C. S. Kiang

Abstract

The homogeneous- and heterogeneous-heteromolecular nucleation of H2SO4-H2O solution droplets in the stratosphere is investigated and order-of-magnitude nucleation rates are evaluated. The heterogeneous processes considered are nucleation (i) onto soluble particles, (ii) onto flat insoluble surfaces, (iii) onto spherical insoluble particles and (iv) onto ions. The relative importance of the various nucleation mechanisms is determined for conditions assumed to correspond to 18 km altitude. Under the assumed conditions the heterogeneous nucleation rate onto insoluble particles is shown to be about 1069 times larger than the homogeneous nucleation rate and 1057 times larger than nucleation onto ions.

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Patrick Hamill
,
Eric J. Jensen
,
P. B. Russell
, and
Jill J. Bauman

This paper describes the life cycle of the background (nonvolcanic) stratospheric sulfate aerosol. The authors assume the particles are formed by homogeneous nucleation near the tropical tropopause and are carried aloft into the stratosphere. The particles remain in the Tropics for most of their life, and during this period of time a size distribution is developed by a combination of coagulation, growth by heteromolecular condensation, and mixing with air parcels containing preexisting sulfate particles. The aerosol eventually migrates to higher latitudes and descends across isentropic surfaces to the lower stratosphere. The aerosol is removed from the stratosphere primarily at mid- and high latitudes through various processes, mainly by isentropic transport across the tropopause from the stratosphere into the troposphere.

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H. M. Steele
,
Patrick Hamill
,
M. P. McCormick
, and
T. J. Swissler

Abstract

Measurements of the stratospheric aerosol by SAM II during the northern and southern winters of 1979 showed a pronounced increase in extinction on occasions when the temperature fell to a low value (below 200 K). In this paper we evaluate, from thermodynamic considerations, the correlation between extinction and temperature. As the temperature fails, the hygroscopic aerosols absorb water vapor from the atmosphere, growing as they do so. The effect of the temperature on the size distribution and composition of the aerosol is determined, and the optical extinction at 1 μm wavelength is calculated using Mie scattering theory. The theoretical predictions of the change in extinction with temperature and humidity am compared with the SAM II results at 100 mb, and the water vapor mixing ratio and aerosol number density are inferred from these results. A best fit of the theoretical curves to the SAM II data gives a water vapor content of 5–6 ppmv, and a total particle number density of 6–7 particles cm−3.

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M. P. McCormick
,
H. M. Steele
,
Patrick Hamill
,
W. P. Chu
, and
T. J. Swissler

Abstract

Sightings of polar stratospheric clouds (PSC's) by the SAM II satellite system during the northern and southern winters of 1979 are reported. PSC's were observed in the Arctic stratosphere at altitudes between about 17 and 25 km during January 1979, with a single sighting in November 1978, and in the Antarctic stratosphere from June to October 1979 at altitudes from the tropopause up to about 23 km. The measured extinction coefficients at 1 μm wavelength were as much as two orders of magnitude greater than that of the background stratospheric aerosol. with peak extinctions up to 10−2 km−1. The PSC's were observed when stratospheric temperatures were very low with a high probability of observation when temperatures were colder than 190 K and a low probability when temperatures were warmer than 198 K. In the Antarctic, clouds were observed in more than 90% of the events in which the minimum temperature was 185 K or less, and were observed in fewer than 10% of the occasions when the temperature was greater than 196 K.

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M. P. McCormick
,
Patrick Hamill
,
T. J Pepin
,
W. P. Chu
,
T. J Swissler
, and
L. R. McMaster

The potential climatological and environmental importance of the stratospheric aerosol layer has prompted great interest in measuring the properties of this aerosol. In this paper we report on two recently deployed NASA satellite systems (SAM II and SAGE) that are monitoring the stratospheric aerosol. The satellite orbits are such that nearly global coverage is obtained. The instruments mounted in the spacecraft are sun photometers that measure solar intensity at specific wavelengths as it is moderated by atmospheric particulates and gases during each sunrise and sunset encountered by the satellites. The data obtained are “inverted” to yield vertical aerosol and gaseous (primarily ozone) extinction profiles with 1 km vertical resolution. Thus, latitudinal, longitudinal, and temporal variations in the aerosol layer can be evaluated. The satellite systems are being validated by a series of ground truth experiments using airborne and ground lidar, balloon-borne dustsondes, aircraft-mounted impactors, and other correlative sensors. We describe the SAM II and SAGE satellite systems, instrument characteristics, and mode of operation; outline the methodology of the experiments; and describe the ground truth experiments. We present preliminary results from these measurements.

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Patrick Hamill
,
Laura T. Iraci
,
Emma L. Yates
,
Warren Gore
,
T. Paul Bui
,
Tomoaki Tanaka
, and
Max Loewenstein

Abstract

The NASA Ames Research Center operates a new research platform for atmospheric studies: an instrumented Alpha Jet. The present complement of instruments allows for the determination of carbon dioxide, ozone, water vapor, and methane concentrations as well as measurements of three-dimensional wind speeds, temperature, and pressure. Planned future instrumentation includes an Air-Core sampler and an instrument to measure formaldehyde. We give examples of measurements that have been made, including measurements carried out during a downward spiral over an expected methane source. An attractive property of this airborne system is its ability to respond rapidly to unexpected atmospheric events such as large forest fires or severe air quality events.

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