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Lifetime Dependent Flux into the Lowermost Stratosphere for Idealized
Trace Gases of Surface Origin

Holzer, Mark; Polvani, Lorenzo M.

The flux of idealized trace gases across the thermal tropopause is quantified as a function of their chemical lifetime using the Model of Atmospheric Transport and Chemistry (MATCH) driven by National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) reanalyses. The flux is computed in the limit of instant stratospheric chemical loss, and tropospheric chemistry is idealized as decay with a constant lifetime, τc. Emissions are idealized as time independent, with either a generic anthropogenic pattern or a uniform ocean source. We find that the globally averaged flux into the stratosphere normalized by surface emissions is ∼1% for τc= 8 days and ∼30% for τc ∼ 140 days, slowly approaching the long-lived limit of balance between stratospheric sinks and surface sources. The qualitative τc dependence of the globally averaged flux is captured by a simple one-dimensional model. The flux patterns computed with MATCH for the NCEP reanalyses are insensitive to τc and reveal preferred pathways into the stratosphere: The divergent circulation feeding isentropic cross-tropopause transport, storm tracks in the winter hemisphere, and isentropic transport to high latitudes.


Also Published In

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres