Trace gas evolution in the lowermost stratosphere from Aura Microwave Limb...

Santee, M., G. Manney, N. Livesey, L. Froidevaux, M. Schwartz, and B. Read (2011), Trace gas evolution in the lowermost stratosphere from Aura Microwave Limb Sounder measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D18306, doi:10.1029/2011JD015590.

Daily global measurements from NASA’s Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) allow comprehensive investigation of interhemispheric and interannual variations in chemical and transport processes throughout the lowermost stratosphere (LMS). We analyze nearly seven years of MLS O3, HNO3, HCl and ClO measurements along with meteorological analyses to place chemical processing in and dispersal of processed air from the winter polar lowermost vortex and subvortex in a global context. The MLS data, the first simultaneous observations of HCl and ClO covering much of the LMS, reveal that chlorine activation is widespread in the Antarctic subvortex and can occur to a significant degree in the Arctic subvortex. Unusually low temperatures and strong, prolonged chlorine activation in the lowermost vortex and subvortex promoted large ozone losses there in the 2006 (and 2008) Antarctic and 2004/2005 Arctic winters, consistent with reported record low column ozone. Processed air dispersing from the decaying vortex in spring induces rapid changes in extravortex trace gas abundances. After vortex breakdown, the subtropical jet/tropopause becomes the major transport barrier in the LMS. Quasi‐isentropic transport of tropical tropospheric air into the LMS, associated with the summer monsoon circulations, leads to decreases in extratropical O3, HNO3, and HCl in both hemispheres. Strong mixing in the summertime LMS homogenizes extratropical trace gas fields. MLS measurements in the tropics show signatures of monsoon‐related cross‐equatorial stratosphere‐to‐troposphere transport. Observed seasonal and interannual variations in trace gas abundances in the LMS are consistent with variations in the strength of transport barriers diagnosed from meteorological analyses.

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