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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 30 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 30 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

A convolution of observational and model data to estimate age of air spectra in the northern hemispheric lower stratosphere

Marius Hauck1, Harald Bönisch5, Peter Hoor4, Timo Keber1, Felix Ploeger2,3, Tanja J. Schuck1, and Andreas Engel1 Marius Hauck et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 2Institute for Energy and Climate Research: Stratosphere (IEK-7), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 3Institute for Atmospheric andEnvironmental Research, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany
  • 4Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • 5Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research – Atmospheric Trace Gases and Remote Sensing, Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany

Abstract. Derivation of mean age of air (AoA) and age spectra from atmospheric measurements remains a challenge and often requires data from atmospheric models. This study tries to minimize the direct influence of model data and presents an extension and application of a previously established inversion method to derive age spectra from mixing ratios of long- and short-lived trace gases. For a precise description of cross-tropopause transport processes, the inverse method is extended to incorporate air entrainment into the stratosphere across the tropical and extratropical tropopause. We first use simulations with the Chemical Lagrangian Model of the Stratosphere (CLaMS) to provide a general proof of concept of the extended principle in a controllable and consistent environment, where the method is applied to an idealized set of ten trace gases with predefined constant lifetimes and compared to reference model age spectra. In the second part of the study we apply the extended inverse method to atmospheric measurements of multiple long- and short-lived trace gases measured aboard the High Altitude and Long Range (HALO) research aircraft during the two research campaigns POLSTRACC/GW-LCYCLE/SALSA (PGS) and Wave-driven Isentropic Exchange (WISE). As some of the observed species undergo significant loss processes in the stratosphere, a Monte Carlo simulation is introduced to retrieve age spectra and chemical lifetimes in stepwise fashion and to account for the large uncertainties. Results show that in the idealized model scenario the inverse method retrieves age spectra robustly on annual and seasonal scale. The extension to multiple entry regions proves reasonable as our CLaMS simulations reveal that in the model between 50 % and 70 % of air in the lowermost stratosphere has entered through the extratropical tropopause (30°–90° N/S) on annual average. When applied to observational data of PGS and WISE the method derives age spectra and mean AoA with meaningful spatial distributions and quantitative range, yet large uncertainties. Results indicate that entrainment of fresh tropospheric air across both extratropical and tropical tropopause has peaked prior to both campaigns, but with lower mean AoA for WISE than PGS data. For a full assessment the ratio of moments for all retrieved age spectra is evaluated and found to range between 0.52 years and 2.81 years for PGS and WISE. It is concluded that the method derives reasonable and consistent age spectra using observations of chemically active trace gases. Our findings might contribute to an improved assessment of transport with age spectra in future studies.

Marius Hauck et al.

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Marius Hauck et al.

Marius Hauck et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This study features an extended inversion method that includes transport across the extratropical tropopause to derive age spectra in the lowermost stratosphere from in situ trace gas measurements. The refined method is validated in a model setup and applied to data gained with the HALO research aircraft. Results are congruent with the findings of previous studies so that the method provides a promising toolset for the analysis of stratospheric dynamics based on observations in the future.
This study features an extended inversion method that includes transport across the...