Modeling Convective Injection of Water Vapor into the Lower Stratosphere in the Mid-Latitudes over North America

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Corey Clapp, Harvard University, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cambridge, MA, United States, Stephen Sylvain Leroy, Harvard Univ, Cambridge, MA, United States and James G Anderson, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, United States
Water vapor in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) from the tropics to the poles is important both radiatively and chemically. Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas, and increases in water vapor concentrations in the UTLS lead to cooling at these levels and induce warming at the surface [Forster and Shine, 1999; 2002;Solomon et al., 2010]. Water vapor is also integral to stratospheric chemistry. It is the dominant source of OH in the lower stratosphere [ Hanisco et al. , 2001], and increases in water vapor concentrations promote stratospheric ozone loss by raising the reactivity of several key heterogeneous reactions as well as by promoting the growth of reactive surface area [Anderson et al., 2012; Carslaw et al., 1995; Carslaw et al., 1997; Drdla and Muller , 2012; Kirk-Davidoff et al., 1999; Shi et al., 2001]. However, the processes that control the distribution and phase of water in this region of the atmosphere are not well understood. This is especially true at mid-latitudes where several different dynamical mechanisms are capable of influencing UTLS water vapor concentrations. The contribution by deep convective storm systems that penetrate into the lower stratosphere is the least well understood and the least well represented in global models because of the small spatial scales and short time scales over which convection occurs. To address this issue, we have begun a modeling study to investigate the convective injection of water vapor from the troposphere into the stratosphere in the mid-latitudes. Fine-scale models have been previously used to simulate convection from the troposphere to the stratosphere [e.g., Homeyer et al., 2014]. Here we employ the Advanced Research Weather and Research Forecasting model (ARW) at 3-km resolution to resolve convection over the eastern United States during August of 2007 and August of 2013. We conduct a comparison of MERRA, the reanalysis used to initialize ARW, and the model output to assess the dependence of ARW on boundary conditions and its independence as a climate model. We also observe structured trapped gravity wave phenomena near the tropopause.