Articles | Volume 23, issue 20
ACP Letters
 | Highlight paper
16 Oct 2023
ACP Letters | Highlight paper |  | 16 Oct 2023

The dehydration carousel of stratospheric water vapor in the Asian summer monsoon anticyclone

Paul Konopka, Christian Rolf, Marc von Hobe, Sergey M. Khaykin, Benjamin Clouser, Elisabeth Moyer, Fabrizio Ravegnani, Francesco D'Amato, Silvia Viciani, Nicole Spelten, Armin Afchine, Martina Krämer, Fred Stroh, and Felix Ploeger


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The paper exploits recent in-situ observations of water vapour in the lower stratosphere in the StratoClim campaign which was focused on the Asian Monsoon region, accepted as very important as providing a pathway from troposphere to stratosphere for important chemical species. The paper uses trajectory modelling to argue that, whilst very large water vapour concentrations were observed in some locations, significant further dehydration is likely as the air masses are transported, over tens of days, on a spiralling path into the main body of the stratosphere. The conclusion is therefore that these large water vapour concentrations do not imply a substantial moistening of the stratosphere. There has been a long-standing debate about the role of processes on different scales, from the cloud-scale to the regional scale, in controlling stratospheric water vapour, which has an important effect on the radiative balance of the troposphere. In combining in-situ data and trajectory modelling this study should help progress towards scientific consensus on this point.
Short summary
We studied water vapor in a critical region of the atmosphere, the Asian summer monsoon anticyclone, using rare in situ observations. Our study shows that extremely high water vapor values observed in the stratosphere within the Asian monsoon anticyclone still undergo significant freeze-drying and that water vapor concentrations set by the Lagrangian dry point are a better proxy for the stratospheric water vapor budget than rare observations of enhanced water mixing ratios.
Final-revised paper