The Life Cycle of Stratospheric Aerosol Particles

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

*Department of Physics, San Jose State University, San Jose, California.

+NASA/Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.

#State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Patrick Hamill, Department of Physics, San Jose State University, College of Science, 1 Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0106. E-mail: hamill@sky.arc.nasa.gov

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.

*Department of Physics, San Jose State University, San Jose, California.

+NASA/Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.

#State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Patrick Hamill, Department of Physics, San Jose State University, College of Science, 1 Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0106. E-mail: hamill@sky.arc.nasa.gov
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