Long-Term Mean Vertical Motion over the Tropical Pacific: Wind-Profiling Doppler Radar Measurements

Science  20 Dec 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5039, pp. 1771-1773
DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5039.1771


Measurement from Christmas Island (2°N, 157°W) of long-term mean vertical motions in the tropical atmosphere using very-high-frequency wind-profiling Doppler radar show that there is a transition from downward motion in the free troposphere to upward motion in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. The observations in the free troposphere are consistent with a balance between adiabatic and diabatic heating and cooling rates in a clear atmosphere. Comparison of the results at Christmas Island during El Niño and non-El Niño conditions with earlier results obtained for stratiform rain conditions over Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, show that cirrus clouds in the vicinity of the tropopause likely play an important role in determining the sense and magnitude of vertical motions in this region. These results have implications for the exchange of mass between the troposphere and stratosphere over the tropics.