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A mass-weighted atmospheric isentropic coordinate for mapping chemical tracers...

Jin, Y., R. Keeling, E. Morgan, E. Ray, N. Parazoo, and B. Stephens (2020), A mass-weighted atmospheric isentropic coordinate for mapping chemical tracers and computing inventories, Atmos. Chem. Phys., doi:10.5194/acp-2020-841.
Abstract: 

We introduce a transformed isentropic coordinate Mθe, defined as the dry air mass under a given equivalent potential temperature surface (θe) within a hemisphere. Like θe, the coordinate Mθe follows the synoptic distortions of the atmosphere, but unlike θe, has a nearly fixed relationship with latitude and altitude over the seasonal cycle. Calculation of Mθe is straightforward from meteorological fields. Using observations from the recent HIPPO and Atom airborne campaigns, we map the CO2 seasonal cycle as a function of pressure and Mθe, where Mθe is thereby effectively used as an alternative to latitude. We show that the CO2 cycles are more constant as a function of pressure using M θe as the horizontal coordinate compared to latitude. Furthermore, short-term variability of CO2 relative to the mean seasonal cycle is also smaller when the data are organized by Mθe and pressure than when organized by latitude and pressure. We also present a method using Mθe to compute mass-weighted averages of CO2 on a hemispheric scale. Using this method with the same airborne data and applying corrections for limited coverage, we resolve the average CO2 seasonal cycle in the Northern Hemisphere (mass weighted tropospheric climatological average for 2009-2018), yielding an amplitude of 7.8 ± 0.14 ppm and a downward zero-crossing at Julian day 173 ± 6.1 (i.e., late June). Mθe may be similarly useful for mapping the distribution and computing inventories of any long-lived chemical tracer.

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Research Program: 
Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)
Mission: 
ATom