Observations of convective and dynamical instabilities in tropopause folds and their contribution to stratosphere-troposphere exchange

John Y.N. Cho, Reginald E. Newell, T. Paul Bui, Edward V. Browell, Marta A. Fenn, Michael J. Mahoney, Gerald L. Gregory, Glen W. Sachse, Stephanie A. Vay, Tom L. Kucsera, Anne M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

With aircraft-mounted in situ and remote sensing instruments for dynamical, thermal, and chemical measurements we studied two cases of tropopause folding. In both folds we found Kelvin-Helmholtz billows with horizontal wavelength of ∼900 m and thickness of ∼120 m. In one case the instability was effectively mixing the bottomside of the fold, leading to the transfer of stratospheric air into the troposphere. Also, we discovered in both cases small-scale secondary ozone maxima shortly after the aircraft ascended past the topside of the fold that corresponded to regions of convective instability. We interpreted this phenomenon as convectively breaking gravity waves. Therefore we posit that convectively breaking gravity waves acting on tropopause folds must be added to the list of important irreversible mixing mechanisms leading to stratosphere-troposphere exchange.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1999JD900430
Pages (from-to)21549-21568
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Volume104
Issue numberD17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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