Clouds at the tropical tropopause: a case study during the APE-THESEO campaign over the western Indian Ocean.

Santacesaria, Vincenzo and Carla, Roberto and MacKenzie, A. Robert and Adriani, Alberto and Cairo, Francesco and Didonfrancesco, Guido and Kiemle, Christoph and Redaelli, Gianluca and Beuermann, Jürgen and Schiller, Cornelius and Peter, Thomas and Luo, Beiping and Wernli, Heini and Ravegnani, Fabrizio and Ulanovsky, Alexey and Yushkov, Vladimir and Sitnikov, Nikolay and Balestri, Stefano and Stefanutti, Leopoldo (2003) Clouds at the tropical tropopause: a case study during the APE-THESEO campaign over the western Indian Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 108 (D2). p. 4044. ISSN 0747-7309

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In this paper, we report a detailed description of a thin cirrus at the tropopause above a cumulonimbus (Cb) convective cluster observed during the Airborne Platform for Earth Observation–Third European Stratospheric Experiment for Ozone (APE-THESEO) campaign in February–March 1999 in the western Indian Ocean. The thin cirrus (Ci) has an optical depth at 532 nm below 0.1, with extended subvisible stretches, and is located directly below the tropopause, which was supersaturated with respect to ice. A direct comparison between the optical depth retrieved by Meteosat and that obtained by means of the hygrometers installed on the M55-Geophysica aircraft is discussed showing discrepancies ranging from 10 to 20%. Combining satellite and aircraft data, we show that the observed Ci is not due to cirrus outflow from Cb anvils. In the absence of any deeply convective clouds reaching altitudes above 15 km, we propose a possible mechanism of Ci formation based on a net mesoscale transport of water vapor from altitudes above 16 km to the tropopause region around 18 km. This transport could be driven by the critical layer and turbulence induced by gravity waves that could have been generated by lower level Cb cluster activity. The proposed mechanism for high-altitude Ci formation corroborates the new paradigm of a tropical tropopause layer (TTL) or “substratosphere,” several kilometers thick, which is decoupled from the convection-dominated lower troposphere.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Additional Information:
It describes research carried out using the Geophysica research aircraft. MacKenzie was Scientific Coordinator for this campaign, and closely collaborated on the analysis and final manuscript. This paper records much of the work that led to MacKenzie, Peter, and Stefanutti being short-listed for the 2001 Italgas Prize. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
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Deposited On:
08 Apr 2008 12:13
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 00:39