Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 8433-8463, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Simulation of stratospheric water vapor and trends using three reanalyses
M. R. Schoeberl1, A. E. Dessler2, and T. Wang3
1Science and Technology Corporation, Lanham, MD, USA
2Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
3Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Abstract. The domain-filling, forward trajectory calculation model developed by Schoeberl and Dessler (2011) is extended to the 1979–2010 period. We compare results from NASA's MERRA, NCEP's CFSR, and ECMWF's ERAi reanalyses with HALOE, MLS, and balloon observations. The CFSR based simulation produces a wetter stratosphere than MERRA, and ERAi produces a drier stratosphere than MERRA. We find that ERAi temperatures are cold biased compared to Singapore sondes and MERRA, which explains the ERAi result, and the CFSR grid does not resolve the cold point tropopause, which explains its relatively higher water vapor concentration. The pattern of dehydration locations is also different among the three reanalyses. ERAi dehydration pattern stretches across the Pacific while CFSR and MERRA are concentrate dehydration activity in the West Pacific. CSFR and ERAi also show less dehydration activity in the West Pacific Southern Hemisphere than MERRA. The models' lower stratospheres tend to be dry at high northern latitudes because of too little methane-derived water appears to be descending from the middle stratosphere. Using the tropical tape recorder signal, we find that MERRA vertical ascent is 15% too weak while ERAi is 30% too strong. The models tend to reproduce the observed weakening of the 100-hPa annual cycle in zonal mean water vapor as it propagates to middle latitudes. Finally, consistent with the observations, the models show less than 0.2 ppm decade−1 trends in water vapor both at mid-latitudes and in the tropics.

Citation: Schoeberl, M. R., Dessler, A. E., and Wang, T.: Simulation of stratospheric water vapor and trends using three reanalyses, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 8433-8463, doi:10.5194/acpd-12-8433-2012, 2012.
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