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Role of deep convection in establishing the isotopic composition of water vapor...

Smith, J. A., A. S. Ackerman, E. Jensen, and O. B. Toon (2006), Role of deep convection in establishing the isotopic composition of water vapor in the tropical transition layer, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L06812, doi:10.1029/2005GL024078.

The transport of H2O and HDO within deep convection is investigated with 3-D large eddy simulations (LES) using bin microphysics. The lofting and sublimation of HDO-rich ice invalidate the Rayleigh fractionation model of isotopologue distribution within deep convection. Bootstrapping the correlation of the ratio of HDO to H2O (δD) to water vapor mixing ratio (qv) through a sequence of convective events produces non-Rayleigh correlations resembling observations. These results support two mechanisms for stratospheric entry. Deep convection can inject air with water vapor of stratospheric character directly into the tropical transition layer (TTL). Alternatively, moister air detraining from convection may be dehydrated via cirrus formation in the TTL to produce stratospheric water vapor. Significant production of subsaturated air in the TTL via convective dehydration is not observed in these simulations, nor is it necessary to resolve the stratospheric isotope paradox.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)