Balloon-borne measurements of temperature, water vapor, ozone and aerosol backscatter on the southern slopes of the Himalayas during StratoClim 2016-2017
Singh, Bhupendra B.
Wienhold, Frank G.
Luo, Bei P.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
The Asian summer monsoon anticyclone (ASMA) is a major meteorological system of the upper troposphere–lower stratosphere (UTLS) during boreal summer. It is known to contain enhanced tropospheric trace gases and aerosols, due to rapid lifting from the boundary layer by deep convection and subsequent horizontal confinement. Given its dynamical structure, the ASMA represents an efficient pathway for the transport of pollutants to the global stratosphere. A detailed understanding of the thermal structure and processes in the ASMA requires accurate in situ measurements. Within the StratoClim project we performed state-of-the-art balloon-borne measurements of temperature, water vapor, ozone and aerosol backscatter from two stations on the southern slopes of the Himalayas. In total, 63 balloon soundings were conducted during two extensive monsoon-season campaigns, in August 2016 in Nainital, India (29.4°N, 79.5°E), and in July–August 2017 in Dhulikhel, Nepal (27.6°N, 85.5°E); one shorter post-monsoon campaign was also carried out in November 2016 in Nainital. These measurements provide unprecedented insights into the UTLS thermal structure, the vertical distributions of water vapor, ozone and aerosols, cirrus cloud properties and interannual variability in the ASMA. Here we provide an overview of all of the data collected during the three campaign periods, with focus on the UTLS region and the monsoon season. We analyze the vertical structure of the ASMA in terms of significant levels and layers, identified from the temperature and potential temperature lapse rates and Lagrangian backward trajectories, which provides a framework for relating the measurements to local thermodynamic properties and the large-scale anticyclonic flow. Both the monsoon-season campaigns show evidence of deep convection and confinement extending up to 1.5–2km above the cold-point tropopause (CPT), yielding a body of air with high water vapor and low ozone which is prone to being lifted further and mixed into the free stratosphere. Enhanced aerosol backscatter also reveals the signature of the Asian tropopause aerosol layer (ATAL) over the same region of altitudes. The Dhulikhel 2017 campaign was characterized by a 5K colder CPT on average than in Nainital 2016 and a local water vapor maximum in the confined lower stratosphere, about 1km above the CPT. Data assessment and modeling studies are currently ongoing with the aim of fully exploring this dataset and its implications with respect to stratospheric moistening via the ASMA system and related processes. Show more
Journal / seriesAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03517 - Peter, Thomas / Peter, Thomas
03854 - Wernli, Johann Heinrich / Wernli, Johann Heinrich
147127 - BATTREX-CH: The Swiss contribution to the international BAlloonsonde Tropical TRopopause EXperiment (SNF)
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