Research Articles

Quantifying Transport Between the Tropical and Mid-Latitude Lower Stratosphere

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Science  21 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5269, pp. 1763-1768
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5269.1763


Airborne in situ observations of molecules with a wide range of lifetimes (methane, nitrous oxide, reactive nitrogen, ozone, chlorinated halocarbons, and halon-1211), used in a tropical tracer model, show that mid-latitude air is entrained into the tropical lower stratosphere within about 13.5 months; transport is faster in the reverse direction. Because exchange with the tropics is slower than global photochemical models generally assume, ozone at mid-latitudes appears to be more sensitive to elevated levels of industrial chlorine than is currently predicted. Nevertheless, about 45 percent of air in the tropical ascent region at 21 kilometers is of mid-latitude origin, implying that emissions from supersonic aircraft could reach the middle stratosphere.

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