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An examination of chemistry and transport processes in the tropical lower stratosphere using observations of long‐lived and short‐lived compounds obtained during STRAT and POLARIS


A suite of compounds with a wide range of photochemical lifetimes (3 months to several decades) was measured in the tropical and midlatitude upper troposphere and lower stratosphere during the Stratospheric Tracers of Atmospheric Transport (STRAT) experiment (fall 1995 and winter, summer, and fall 1996) and the Photochemistry of Ozone Loss in the Arctic Region in Summer (POLARIS) deployment in late summer 1997. These species include various chlorofluorocarbons, hydrocarbons, halocarbons, and halons measured in whole air samples and CO measured in situ by tunable diode laser spectroscopy. Mixing ratio profiles of long-lived species in the tropical lower stratosphere are examined using a one-dimensional (1-D) photochemical model that includes entrainment from the extratropical stratosphere and is constrained by measured concentrations of OH. Profiles of tracers found using the 1-D model agree well with all the observed tropical profiles for an entrainment time scale of 8.5-4+6 months, independent of altitude between potential temperatures of 370 and 500 K. The tropical profile of CO is used to show that the annually averaged ascent rate profile, on the basis of a set of radiative heating calculations, is accurate to approximately ±44%, a smaller uncertainty than found by considering the uncertainties in the radiative model and its inputs. Tropical profiles of ethane and C2Cl4 reveal that the concentration of Cl is higher than expected on the basis of photochemical model simulations using standard gas phase kinetics and established relationships between total inorganic chlorine and CFC-11. Our observations suggest that short-lived organic chlorinated compounds and HCl carried across the tropical tropopause may provide an important source of inorganic chlorine to the tropical lower stratosphere that has been largely unappreciated in previous studies. The entrainment timescale found here is considerably less than the value found by a similar study that focused on observations obtained in the lower stratosphere during 1994. Several possible explanations for this difference are discussed. Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.

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