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Effects of convective ice lofting on H2O and HDO in the tropical tropopause...

Dessler, A., T. F. Hanisco, and S. Fueglistaler (2007), Effects of convective ice lofting on H2O and HDO in the tropical tropopause layer, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D18309, doi:10.1029/2007JD008609.

We have added convective ice lofting to a Lagrangian trajectory model of tropical tropopause layer (TTL) water vapor (H2O) and its stable isotopologue, HDO. The Lagrangian model has been previously shown to accurately simulate H2O in the TTL and lower stratosphere. We show here that the model does a poor job reproducing the observed HDO depletion (dD) in the TTL. When convective ice lofting to altitudes below the cold point (the point where air experiences its lowest H2O saturation mixing ratio) is added to the model, there is little change in H2O in the lower stratosphere, but a large change in dD throughout the TTL that brings the model into better agreement with measurements. Thus convective ice lofting has the capacity to improve the model’s dD simulation while not significantly degrading the agreement between simulated and measured H2O. Convective ice lofting to altitudes above the cold point, on the other hand, has a large effect on lower stratospheric H2O, suggesting that changes in convection reaching these altitudes could drive changes in lower stratospheric H2O. This suggests a mechanism by which lower stratospheric H2O trends may be at least partially decoupled from tropopause temperature trends. Such a disconnection was suggested by previous observations of simultaneously increasing stratospheric H2O and a cooling tropical tropopause.

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Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)