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Tropopause and hygropause variability over the equatorial Indian Ocean during February and March 1999.

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  • C. Schiller
  • Th. Peter
  • A. Adriani
  • J. Beuermann
  • O. Bujok
  • F. Cairo
  • T. Corti
  • G. DiDonfrancesco
  • I. Gensch
  • C. Kiemle
  • M. Kramer
  • C. Kroeger
  • S. Merkulov
  • A. Oulanovsky
  • F. Ravegnani
  • S. Rohs
  • V. Rudakov
  • P. Salter
  • V. Santacesaria
  • L. Stefanutti
  • V. Yushkov
Article numberD18112
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue numberD18
Number of pages14
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Measurements of temperature, water vapor, total water, ozone, and cloud properties were made above the western equatorial Indian Ocean in February and March 1999. The cold-point tropopause was at a mean pressure-altitude of 17 km, equivalent to a potential temperature of 380 K, and had a mean temperature of 190 K. Total water mixing ratios at the hygropause varied between 1.4 and 4.1 ppmv. The mean saturation water vapor mixing ratio at the cold point was 3.0 ppmv. This does not accurately represent the mean of the measured total water mixing ratios because the air was unsaturated at the cold point for about 40% of the measurements. As well as unsaturation at the cold point, saturation was observed above the cold point on almost 30% of the profiles. In such profiles the air was saturated with respect to water ice but was free of clouds (i.e., backscatter ratio <2) at potential temperatures more than 5 K above the tropopause and hygropause. Individual profiles show a great deal of variability in the potential temperatures of the cold point and hygropause. We attribute this to short timescale and space-scale perturbations superimposed on the seasonal cycle. There is neither a clear and consistent “setting” of the tropopause and hygropause to the same altitude by dehydration processes nor a clear and consistent separation of tropopause and hygropause by the Brewer-Dobson circulation. Similarly, neither the tropopause nor the hygropause provides a location where conditions consistently approach those implied by a simple “tropopause freeze drying” or “stratospheric fountain” hypothesis.

Bibliographic note

An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2006 American Geophysical Union.