Evaluating stratospheric tropical width using tracer concentrations

Shah, Kasturi S., Solomon, Susan, Thompson, David W. J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5413-4376 and Kinnison, Douglas E. (2020) Evaluating stratospheric tropical width using tracer concentrations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 125 (21). ISSN 2169-897X

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Quantifying the width of the tropics has important implications for understanding climate variability and the atmospheric response to anthropogenic forcing. Considerable effort has been placed on quantifying the width of the tropics at tropospheric levels, but substantially less effort has been placed on quantifying the width at stratospheric levels. Here we probe tropical width in the stratosphere using chemical tracers, which are accessible by direct measurement. Two new tracer-based width metrics are developed, denoted here as the “1σ method” and the gradient weighted latitude (GWL) method. We evaluate widths from three tracers, CH4, N2O, and SF6. We demonstrate that unlike previously proposed stratospheric width methods using tracers, these metrics perform consistently throughout the depth of the stratosphere, at all times of year and on coarse temporal data. The GWL tracer-based widths correlate well with the turnaround latitude and the critical level, where wave dissipation occurs, in the upper and midstratosphere during certain months of the year. In the lower stratosphere, the deseasonalized tracer-based widths near the tropical tropopause correlate with the deseasonalized tropopause-height based metrics. We also find that tracer-tracer width correlations are strongest at pressure levels where their chemical lifetimes are similar. These metrics represent another useful way to estimate stratospheric tropical width and explore any changes under anthropogenic forcing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Climatic Research Unit
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2022 13:30
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2023 04:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/85563
DOI: 10.1029/2020JD033081

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