Articles | Volume 12, issue 20
Research article
29 Oct 2012
Research article |  | 29 Oct 2012

Cirrus and water vapor transport in the tropical tropopause layer – Part 1: A specific case modeling study

T. Dinh, D. R. Durran, and T. Ackerman

Abstract. In a simulation of a tropical-tropopause-layer (TTL) cirrus forced by a large-scale equatorial Kelvin wave, the radiatively induced mesoscale dynamics of the cloud actively contributes to the transport of water vapor in the vertical direction.

In a typical TTL cirrus, the heating that results from absorption of radiation by ice crystals induces a mesoscale circulation. Advection of water vapor by the radiatively induced circulation leads to upward advection of the cloudy air. Upward advection of the cloudy air is equivalent to upward transport of water vapor when the air above the cloud is drier than the cloudy air. On the other hand, ice nucleation and depositional growth, followed by sedimentation and sublimation lead to downward transport of water vapor.

Under the conditions specific to our simulation, the upward transport of water vapor by the mesoscale circulation dominates the downward transport by microphysical processes. The net result is upward transport of water vapor, which is equivalent to hydration of the lower stratosphere. Sensitivity to model conditions and parameters will be discussed in a follow-up paper.

Final-revised paper