Articles | Volume 12, issue 21
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 10195–10208, 2012

Special issue: Water Vapour in the Climate System (WAVACS) COST action: observations,...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 10195–10208, 2012

Research article 06 Nov 2012

Research article | 06 Nov 2012

Relationships between Brewer-Dobson circulation, double tropopauses, ozone and stratospheric water vapour

J. M. Castanheira1, T. R. Peevey2,3, C. A. F. Marques1, and M. A. Olsen4 J. M. Castanheira et al.
  • 1CESAM, Department of Physics, University of Aveiro, Portugal
  • 2National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Center for Limb Atmospheric Sounding, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 4Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Abstract. Statistical relationships between the variability of the area covered by double tropopause events (DTs), the strength of the tropical upwelling, the total column ozone and of the lower stratospheric water vapour are analyzed. The QBO and ENSO signals in the double tropopause and tropical upwelling as well as their influence on the statistical relationships are also presented. The analysis is based on both reanalysed data (ERA-Interim) and satellite data.

Significant anticorrelations were found between the area covered by DTs and the total column ozone in the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. This relationship is confirmed by a large positive correlation between the areas covered by ozone laminae and double tropopause events as found in the HIRDLS satellite dataset. Significant anticorrelations were also found between the global area of double tropopause events and the near global (50° S–50° N) water vapour in the lower stratosphere.

The correlations of DT variables with total column ozone and ozone laminae are both consistent with the poleward displacement of tropical air with lower ozone mixing ratio and with tropospheric intrusions of tropical tropospheric air into the lower extratropical stratosphere. The association of DTs with the poleward displacements of the tropical air is also consistent with a strong positive correlation between the area covered by DTs and the wave activity in the lower most stratosphere, between the first and second lapse rate tropopauses, as found in the ERA-Interim reanalysis.

Finally, a significant anticorrelation was found between the tropical upwelling and the near global lower stratospheric water vapour. Moreover, the step like decrease in the lower stratospheric water vapour after 2001 is mirrored by a step like increase in the tropical upwelling.

Final-revised paper