Articles | Volume 10, issue 17
Special issue:
03 Sep 2010
 | 03 Sep 2010

Stratospheric water vapour budget and convection overshooting the tropopause: modelling study from SCOUT-AMMA

X. M. Liu, E. D. Rivière, V. Marécal, G. Durry, A. Hamdouni, J. Arteta, and S. Khaykin

Abstract. The aim of this paper is to study the impacts of overshooting convection at a local scale on the water distribution in the tropical UTLS. Overshooting convection is assumed to be one of the processes controlling the entry of water vapour mixing ratio in the stratosphere by injecting ice crystals above the tropopause which later sublimate and hydrate the lower stratosphere. For this purpose, we quantify the individual impact of two cases of overshooting convection in Africa observed during SCOUT-AMMA: the case of 4 August 2006 over Southern Chad which is likely to have influenced the water vapour measurements by micro-SDLA and FLASH-B from Niamey on 5 August, and the case of a mesoscale convective system over Aïr on 5 August 2006. We make use of high resolution (down to 1 km horizontally) nested grid simulations with the three-dimensional regional atmospheric model BRAMS (Brazilian Regional Atmospheric Modelling System). In both cases, BRAMS succeeds in simulating the main features of the convective activity, as well as overshooting convection, though the exact position and time of the overshoots indicated by MSG brightness temperature difference is not fully reproduced (typically 1° displacement in latitude compared with the overshoots indicated by brightness temperature difference from satellite observations for both cases, and several hours shift for the Aïr case on 5 August 2006). Total water budgets associated with these two events show a significant injection of ice particles above the tropopause with maximum values of about 3.7 ton s−1 for the Chad case (4 August) and 1.4 ton s−1 for the Aïr case (5 August), and a total upward cross tropopause transport of about 3300 ton h−1 for the Chad case and 2400 ton h−1 for the Aïr case in the third domain of simulation. The order of magnitude of these modelled fluxes is lower but comparable with similar studies in other tropical areas based on models. These two estimations exhibit significant differences and highlight variability among the cases of the impact of overshooting convection in hydrating the lower stratosphere. We show that the regional enhancement of water above the tropopause is between 0.21 to 0.67 ppmv between 380 and 400 K, generally in the range of other model estimations. The amount of water which remains in the stratosphere after the overshoot is estimated for both cases. A range of 330 to 507 tons is found for the Chad case and an upper limit of 200 tons is found for the Aïr case. Finally we emphasize that the hydrated area in the LS by overshooting convection can be advected relatively far away from the overshoot initial location, with locally mixing ratios of more than 3 ppmv higher than the background level, which is compatible with the balloon borne measurements performed above Niamey in the same air mass, 30 h after the overshoot.

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