Trajectory and Microphysical Modeling of TTL Water

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Rei Ueyama, Eric J Jensen and Leonhard Pfister, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
Processes that influence H2O concentrations in the Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL) and consequently regulate stratospheric humidity are investigated in simulations of clouds along backward trajectories of TTL parcels initialized with H2O measurements from Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS). Trajectories are calculated using offline calculations of seasonal mean radiative heating rates in the tropics merged with MERRA extratropical heating rates and ERA-Interim temperature and wind data that have been modified to enhance wave-driven variability in the TTL. We also examine the impact of convective influence along parcel trajectories on cloud formation and dehydration. The distribution of 100 hPa H2O mixing ratios simulated on the final day of the trajectories in boreal winter 2006-07 resembles that of MLS with distinct minima over the western and eastern tropical Pacific, but exhibits an overall dry bias of approximately 20%. Averaged over the tropics, subgrid-scale waves dehydrate the 100 hPa level by ~0.5 ppmv, while convection and cloud microphysical processes moisten by ~0.5 and ~0.7 ppmv, respectively. These three processes combined increase the tropical mean H2O estimate by roughly 20% compared to that based solely on the Lagrangian Dry Point of the trajectories. Possible causes of the model dry bias and TTL cirrus statistics in comparison to those of recent aircraft campaigns will also be discussed.