Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 10157-10192, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. 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.
Airborne observations and modeling of springtime stratosphere-to-troposphere transport over California
E. L. Yates1, L. T. Iraci1, M. C. Roby2, R. B. Pierce3, M. S. Johnson1, P. J. Reddy4, J. M. Tadić1, M. Loewenstein1, and W. Gore1
1Earth Sciences Branch, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
2Department of Meteorology, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192-0104, USA
3NOAA/NESDIS Advanced Satellite Products Branch Madison, WI 53706, USA
4Air Pollution Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Denver, CO 80246, USA

Abstract. Stratosphere-to-troposphere transport (STT) results in air masses of stratospheric origin intruding into the free troposphere. Once in the free troposphere, O3-rich stratospheric air can be transported and mixed with tropospheric air masses, contributing to the tropospheric O3 budget. Evidence of STT can be identified based on the differences in the trace gas composition of the two regions. Because ozone (O3) is present in such large quantities in the stratosphere compared to the troposphere, it is frequently used as a tracer for STT events.

This work reports on airborne in situ measurements of O3 and other trace gases during two STT events observed over California, USA. The first, on 14 May 2012, was associated with a cut-off low, and the second, on 5 June 2012, occurred during a post-trough, building ridge event. In each STT event, airborne measurements identified high O3 within a stratospheric intrusion which was observed as low as 3 km above sea level. During both events the stratospheric air mass was characterized by elevated O3 mixing ratios and reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor. The reproducible observation of reduced CO2 within the stratospheric air mass supports the use of non-conventional tracers as an additional method for detecting STT. A detailed meteorological analysis of each STT event is presented and observations are interpreted with the Realtime Air Quality Modeling System (RAQMS). The implications of the two STT events are discussed in terms of the impact on the total tropospheric O3 budget and the impact on air quality and policy-making.

Citation: Yates, E. L., Iraci, L. T., Roby, M. C., Pierce, R. B., Johnson, M. S., Reddy, P. J., Tadić, J. M., Loewenstein, M., and Gore, W.: Airborne observations and modeling of springtime stratosphere-to-troposphere transport over California, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 10157-10192, doi:10.5194/acpd-13-10157-2013, 2013.
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