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A meteorological overview of the TC4 mission

Pfister, L., H. Selkirk, D. Starr, K. Rosenlof, and P. Newman (2010), A meteorological overview of the TC4 mission, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D00J12, doi:10.1029/2009JD013316.

The TC4 mission in Central America during summer 2007 examined convective transport into the tropical UTLS and the evolution of cirrus clouds. The tropical tropopause layer (TTL) circulation is dominated by the Asian monsoon anticyclone and westward winds that stretch from the western Pacific into the Atlantic. During TC4, TTL westward flow over Central America was stronger than normal. Incidence of cold clouds over the Central American region was the third lowest out of 34 years sampled. The major factor was an incipient La Nina, specifically anomalously cold temperatures off the Pacific Coast of South America. Weakness in the low level Caribbean jet caused a shift in the coldest clouds from the Caribbean to the Pacific side of Central America. The character of tropopause temperature variability was that of upward propagating waves generated by local and nonlocal convection. These waves produced tropopause temperature variations of 3 K, with peak‐to‐peak variations of 8 K. At low levels in Central America, flow from the Sahara desert predominated; further south, the air came from the Amazon region. Convectively influenced air in the upper troposphere came from Central America, the northern Amazon region, the Atlantic ITCZ, and the North American monsoon. In the TTL, Asian and African convection affected the observed air masses. North of 10N in the Central American TTL, African and Asian convection may have contributed as much to the air masses as Central and South American convection. South of 8N, Asian and African convection had far less impact.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)