Publication Abstracts

Hall and Plumb 1994

Hall, T.M., and R.A. Plumb, 1994: Age as a diagnostic of stratospheric transport. J. Geophys. Res., 99, 1059-1070, doi:10.1029/93JD03192.

Estimates of stratospheric age from observations of long-lived trace gases with increasing tropospheric concentrations invoke the implicit assumption that an air parcel has been transported intact from the tropopical tropopause. However, because of rapid and irreversible mixing in the stratosphere, a particular air parcel cannot be identified with one that left the troposphere at some prior time. The parcel contains a mix of air with a range of transit times, and the mean value over this range is the most appropriate definition of age. The measured tracer concentration is also a mean over the parcel, but its value depends both on the transit time distribution and the past history of the tracer in the troposphere. In principle, only if the tropospheric concentration is increasing linearly can the age be directly inferred. We illustrate these points by employing both a one-dimensional diffusive analog of stratospheric transport, and the general circulation model (GCM) of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Within the limits of the GCM, we estimate the time over which tropospheric tracer concentrations must be approximately linear in order to determine stratospheric age unambiguously; the concentration of an exponentially increasing tracer is a function only of age if the growth time constant is greater than about 7 years, which is true for all the chlorofluorocarbons. More rapid source variations (for example, the annual cycle in CO2) have no such direct relationship with age.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Hall, T. M. and Plumb, R. A.},
  title={Age as a diagnostic of stratospheric transport},
  journal={Journal of Geophysical Research},

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RIS Citation

ID  - ha06000k
AU  - Hall, T. M.
AU  - Plumb, R. A.
PY  - 1994
TI  - Age as a diagnostic of stratospheric transport
JA  - J. Geophys. Res.
JO  - Journal of Geophysical Research
VL  - 99
SP  - 1059
EP  - 1070
DO  - 10.1029/93JD03192
ER  -

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