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W. A. Lahoz, A. O'Neill, E. S. Carr, R. S. Harwood, L. Froidevaux, W. G. Read, J. W. Waters, J. B. Kumer, J. L. Mergenthaler, A. E. Roche, G. E. Peckham, and R. Swinbank

Abstract

The three-dimensional evolution of stratospheric water vapor distributions observed by the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) during the period October 1991–July 1992 is documented. The transport features inferred from the MLS water vapor distributions are corroborated using other dynamical fields, namely, nitrous oxide from the Cryogenic Limb Array Etalon Spectrometer instrument, analyzed winds from the U.K. Meteorological Office (UKMO), UKMO-derived potential vorticity, and the diabatic heating field. By taking a vortex-centered view and an along-track view, the authors observe in great detail the vertical and horizontal structure of the northern winter stratosphere. It is demonstrated that the water vapor distributions show clear signatures of the effects of diabatic descent through isentropic surfaces and quasi-horizontal transport along isentropic surfaces, and that the large-scale winter flow is organized by the interaction between the westerly polar vortex and the Aleutian high.

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G.L. Manney, R.W. Zurek, W.A. Lahoz, R.S. Harwood, J.C. Gille, J.B. Kumer, J.L. Mergenthaler, A.E. Roche, A. O'Neill, R. Swinbank, and J.W. Waters

Abstract

The transport of passive tracers observed by the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is simulated using computed three-dimensional trajectories of ≈ 100 000 air parcels initialized on a stratosphere grid, with horizontal winds provided by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office data assimilation system, and vertical (cross isentropic) velocities computed using a fast radiation code. The conservative evolution of trace constituent fields is estimated over 20–30-day periods by assigning to each parcel the observed mixing ratio of the long-lived trace gases N20 and CH4 observed by the Cryogenic Limb Army Etalon Spectrometer (CLAES) and H2O observed by the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the initialization date. Agreement between calculated and observed fields is best inside the polar vortex and is better in the Arctic than in the Antarctic. Although there is not always detailed agreement outside the vortex, the trajectory calculations still reproduce the average large-scale characteristics of passive tracer evolution in midlatitudes. In late winter, synoptic maps from trajectory calculations reproduce all major features of the observations, including large tongues or blobs of material drawn from low latitudes into the region of the anticyclone during February–March 1993. Comparison of lower-stratospheric observations of the CLAES tracers with the calculations suggests that discontinuities seen in CLAES data in the Antarctic late winter lower stratosphere are inconsistent with passive tracer behavior. In the Arctic, and in the Antarctic late winter, MLS H20 observations show behavior that is inconsistent with calculations and with that expected for passive tracers inside the polar vortex in the middle-to-upper stratosphere. Diabatic descent rates in the Arctic lower stratosphere deduced from data are consistent with those from the calculations. In the Antarctic lower stratosphere, the calculations appear to underestimate the diabatic descent. The agreement between large-scale features of calculated and observed tracer fields supports the utility of these calculations in diagnosing trace species transport in the winter polar vortex.

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W. A. Lahoz, V.-H. Peuch, J. Orphal, J.-L. Attié, K. Chance, X. Liu, D. Edwards, H. Elbern, J.-M. Flaud, M. Claeyman, and L. El Amraoui

Air quality (AQ) is defined by the atmospheric composition of gases and particulates near the Earth's surface. This composition depends on local emissions of pollutants, chemistry, and transport processes; it is highly variable in space and time. Key lower-tropospheric pollutants include ozone, aerosols, and the ozone precursors NOx and volatile organic compounds. Information on the transport of pollutants is provided by carbon monoxide measurements. Air quality impacts human society, because high concentrations of pollutants can have adverse effects on human health; health costs attributable to AQ are high. The ability to monitor, forecast, and manage AQ is thus crucial for human society. In this paper we identify the observational requirements needed to undertake this task, discuss the advantages of the geostationary platform for monitoring AQ from space, and indicate important challenges to overcome. We present planned geostationary missions to monitor AQ in Europe, the United States, and Asia, and advocate for the usefulness of such a constellation in addition to the current global observing system of tropospheric composition.

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S. T. Massie, P. L. Bailey, J. C. Gille, E. C. Lee, J. L. Mergenthaler, A. E. Roche, J. B. Kumer, E. F. Fishbein, J. W. Waters, and W. A. Lahoz

Abstract

Multiwavelength observations of Antarctic and midlatitude aerosol by the Cryogenic Limb Array Etalon Spectrometer (CLAES) experiment on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite are used to demonstrate a technique that identifies the location of polar stratospheric clouds. The technique discussed uses the normalized area of the triangle formed by the aerosol extinctions at 925, 1257, and 1605 cm−1 (10.8, 8.0, and 6.2 μm) to derive a spectral aerosol measure M of the aerosol spectrum. Mie calculations for spherical particles and T-matrix calculations for spheroidal particles are used to generate theoretical spectral extinction curves for sulfate and polar stratospheric cloud particles. The values of the spectral aerosol measure M for the sulfate and polar stratospheric cloud particles are shown to be different. Aerosol extinction data, corresponding to temperatures between 180 and 220 K at a pressure of 46 hPa (near 21-km altitude) for 18 August 1992, are used to demonstrate the technique. Thermodynamic calculations, based upon frost-point calculations and laboratory phase-equilibrium studies of nitric acid trihydrate, are used to predict the location of nitric acid trihydrate cloud particles.

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S. Pawson, K. Kodera, K. Hamilton, T. G. Shepherd, S. R. Beagley, B. A. Boville, J. D. Farrara, T. D. A. Fairlie, A. Kitoh, W. A. Lahoz, U. Langematz, E. Manzini, D. H. Rind, A. A. Scaife, K. Shibata, P. Simon, R. Swinbank, L. Takacs, R. J. Wilson, J. A. Al-Saadi, M. Amodei, M. Chiba, L. Coy, J. de Grandpré, R. S. Eckman, M. Fiorino, W. L. Grose, H. Koide, J. N. Koshyk, D. Li, J. Lerner, J. D. Mahlman, N. A. McFarlane, C. R. Mechoso, A. Molod, A. O'Neill, R. B. Pierce, W. J. Randel, R. B. Rood, and F. Wu

To investigate the effects of the middle atmosphere on climate, the World Climate Research Programme is supporting the project “Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate” (SPARC). A central theme of SPARC, to examine model simulations of the coupled troposphere–middle atmosphere system, is being performed through the initiative called GRIPS (GCM-Reality Intercomparison Project for SPARC). In this paper, an overview of the objectives of GRIPS is given. Initial activities include an assessment of the performance of middle atmosphere climate models, and preliminary results from this evaluation are presented here. It is shown that although all 13 models evaluated represent most major features of the mean atmospheric state, there are deficiencies in the magnitude and location of the features, which cannot easily be traced to the formulation (resolution or the parameterizations included) of the models. Most models show a cold bias in all locations, apart from the tropical tropopause region where they can be either too warm or too cold. The strengths and locations of the major jets are often misrepresented in the models. Looking at three-dimensional fields reveals, for some models, more severe deficiencies in the magnitude and positioning of the dominant structures (such as the Aleutian high in the stratosphere), although undersampling might explain some of these differences from observations. All the models have shortcomings in their simulations of the present-day climate, which might limit the accuracy of predictions of the climate response to ozone change and other anomalous forcing.

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