Articles | Volume 3, issue 6
08 Dec 2003
08 Dec 2003

A model of HDO in the tropical tropopause layer

A. E. Dessler and S. C. Sherwood

Abstract. Any theory of water vapor in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL) must explain both the abundance and isotopic composition of water there. In previous papers, we presented a model of the TTL that simulated the abundance of water vapor as well as the details of the vertical profile. That model included the effects of "overshooting" convection, which injects dry air directly into the TTL. Here, we present results for the model after modifying it to include water's stable isotopologue HDO (where D represents deuterium, 2H). We find that the model predicts a nearly uniform HDO depletion throughout the TTL, in agreement with recent measurements. This occurs because the model dehydrates by dilution, which does not fractionate, instead of by condensation. Our model shows that this dehydration by dilution is consistent with other physical constraints on the system. We also show the key role that lofted ice plays in determining the abundance of HDO in the TTL. Such lofted ice requires a complementary source of dry air in the TTL; without that, the TTL will rapidly saturate and the lofted ice will not evaporate.

Final-revised paper