PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

How Water Enters the Stratosphere

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Science  05 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5651, pp. 1691-1692
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092703

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Earth's stratosphere (from ~11 to ~50 km) contains much less water than would be expected based on the water vapor content at the boundary between the stratophere and the underlying troposphere. In her Perspective, Rosenlof discusses how this extreme aridity may arise. She highlights the report by Webster and Heymsfield, whose isotope data show that small-scale processes play an important role in the transport of water through the troposphere and into the stratosphere. These processes are not captured correctly by today's models.