Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1053
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1053

  14 Dec 2020

14 Dec 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

3-D tomographic observations of Rossby wave breaking over the Northern Atlantic during the WISE aircraft campaign in 2017

Lukas Krasauskas1, Jörn Ungermann1,2, Peter Preusse1, Felix Friedl-Vallon3, Andreas Zahn3, Helmut Ziereis4, Christian Rolf1, Felix Plöger1, Paul Konopka1, Bärbel Vogel1, and Martin Riese1 Lukas Krasauskas et al.
  • 1Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Stratosphere (IEK-7), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
  • 2Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
  • 3The Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • 4The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), Institute for Atmospheric Physics

Abstract. This paper presents measurements of ozone, water vapour and nitric acid in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS) over North Atlantic and Europe. The measurements were acquired with the Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere (GLORIA) during the Wave Driven Isentropic Exchange (WISE) campaign in October 2017. GLORIA is an airborne limb imager capable of acquiring both 2-D data sets (curtains along the flight path) and, when the carrier aircraft is flying around the observed air mass, spatially highly resolved 3-D tomographic data. Here we present a case study of a Rossby wave (RW) breaking event observed during two subsequent flights two days apart. RW breaking is known to steepen tracer gradients and facilitate stratosphere-troposphere exchange (STE). Our measurements reveal complex spatial structures in stratospheric tracers (ozone and nitric acid) with multiple vertically stacked filaments. Backward trajectory analysis is used to demonstrate that these features are related to several previous Rossby wave breaking events and that the small-scale structure of the UTLS in the Rossby wave breaking region, which is otherwise very hard to observe, can be understood as stirring and mixing of air masses of tropospheric and stratospheric origin. It is also shown that a strong nitric acid enhancement observed just above the tropopause is likely a result of NOx production by lightning activity. The measurements showed signatures of enhanced mixing between stratospheric and tropospheric air near the polar jet with some transport of water vapour into the stratosphere. Some of the air masses seen in 3-D data were encountered again two days later, stretched to very thin filament (horizontal thickness down to 30 km at some altitudes) rich in stratospheric tracers. This repeated measurement allowed us to directly observe and analyse the progress of mixing processes in a thin filament over two days. Our results provide direct insight into small-scale dynamics of the UTLS in the Rossby wave breaking region, witch is of great importance to understanding STE and poleward transport in the UTLS.

Lukas Krasauskas et al.

 
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Lukas Krasauskas et al.

Lukas Krasauskas et al.

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Short summary
Rossby wave (RW) breaking event was observed over the North Atlantic during the WISE measurement campaign in October 2017. Infrared limb sounding measurements of trace gases in the lower stratosphere, including high resolution 3-D tomographic reconstruction, revealed complex spatial structures in stratospheric tracers near the polar jet related to previous RW breaking events. Backward trajectory analysis and tracer correlations were used to study mixing and stratosphere-troposphere exchange.
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