Insight from ozone and water vapour on transport in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL)
1Institute for Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere (ICG-1), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
2Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
3CAO, Dolgoprudny, Russia
4Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, ISAC-CNR, Bologna, Italy
5Dept. of Geosciences, Princeton University, USA
Abstract. We explore the potential of ozone observations to constrain transport processes in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL), and contrast it with insights that can be obtained from water vapour. Global fields from Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) and in-situ observations are predicted using a backtrajectory approach that captures advection, instantaneous freeze-drying and photolytical ozone production. Two different representations of transport (kinematic and diabatic 3-month backtrajectories based on ERA-Interim data) are used to evaluate the sensitivity to differences in transport. Results show that mean profiles and seasonality of both tracers can be reasonably reconstructed. Water vapour predictions are similar for both transport representations, but predictions for ozone are systematically higher for kinematic transport. While for global HALOE observations the diabatic prediction underestimates the vertical ozone gradient, for SCOUT-O3 in-situ observations the kinematic prediction shows a clear high bias above 390 K. We show that ozone predictions and vertical dispersion of the trajectories are highly correlated, rendering ozone an interesting tracer for aspects of transport to which water vapour is not sensitive. We show that dispersion and mean upwelling have similar effects on ozone profiles, with slower upwelling and larger dispersion both leading to higher ozone concentrations. Analyses of tropical upwelling based on mean transport characteristics, and model validation have to take into account this ambiguity. In turn, ozone may provide constraints on aspects of transport in the TTL and lower stratosphere that cannot be obtained from water vapour.