Definitions and sharpness of the extratropical tropopause : a trace gas perspective
Pan, L. L.
Randel, W. J.
Gary, B. L.
Mahoney, M. J.
Hintsa, Eric J.
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Definitions of the extratropical tropopause are examined from the perspective of chemical composition. Fine-scale measurements of temperature, ozone, carbon monoxide, and water vapor from approximately 70 aircraft flights, with ascending and descending tropopause crossings near 40°N and 65°N, are used in this analysis. Using the relationship of the stratospheric tracer O3 and the tropospheric tracer CO, we address the issues of tropopause sharpness and where the transitions from troposphere to stratosphere occur in terms of the chemical composition. Tracer relationships indicate that mixing of stratospheric and tropospheric air masses occurs in the vicinity of the tropopause to form a transition layer. Statistically, this transition layer is centered on the thermal tropopause. Furthermore, we show that the transition is much sharper near 65°N (a region away from the subtropical jet) but spans a larger altitude range near 40°N (in the vicinity of the subtropical jet). This latter feature is consistent with enhanced stratosphere-troposphere exchange and mixing activity near the tropopause break.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2004. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 109 (2004): D23103, doi:10.1029/2004JD004982.
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