Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 6, 9563-9581, 2006
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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.
The relationship between tropospheric wave forcing and tropical lower stratospheric water vapor
S. Dhomse, M. Weber, and J. Burrows
Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Abstract. The compact relationship between stratospheric temperatures (as well as ozone) and tropospheric generated planetary wave activity have been widely discussed. Higher wave activity leads to a strengthening of the Brewer-Dobson (BD) circulation, which results in warmer/colder temperatures in the polar/tropical stratosphere. The influence of this wave activity on stratospheric water vapor (WV) is not yet well explored primarily due to lack of high quality long term data sets. Using WV data from HALOE and SAGE II, an anti-correlation between planetary wave driving (here expressed by the mid-latitude eddy heat flux at 50 hPa added from both hemispheres) and tropical lower stratospheric (TLS) WV has been found. This appears to be the most direct manifestation of the inter-annual variability of the known relationship between ascending motion in the tropical stratosphere (due to rising branch of the BD circulation) and the amount of the WV entering into the stratosphere from the tropical tropopause layer. A decrease in planetary wave activity in the mid-nineties is probably responsible for the increasing trends in stratospheric WV until late 1990s. After 2000 a sudden decrease in lower stratospheric WV has been reported and was observed by different satellite instruments such as HALOE, SAGE II and POAM III indicating that the lower stratosphere has become drier since then. This is consistent with a sudden rise in the combined mid-latitude eddy heat flux with nearly equal contribution from both hemispheres. The low water vapor and enhanced strength of the Brewer-Dobson circulation has persisted until now. It is estimated that the strengthening of the BD circulation after 2000 contributed to a 0.7 K cooling in the TLS.

Citation: Dhomse, S., Weber, M., and Burrows, J.: The relationship between tropospheric wave forcing and tropical lower stratospheric water vapor, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 6, 9563-9581, doi:10.5194/acpd-6-9563-2006, 2006.
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