Journal article

Arctic stratospheric dehydration - Part 1: Unprecedented observation of vertical redistribution of water

Khaykin S, Engel I, Vömel H, Formanyuk I, Kivi R, Korshunov L, Krämer M, Lykov A, Meier S, Naebert T, Pitts M, Santee M, Spelten N, Wienhold F, Yushkov V, Peter T ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 13, issue 22 (2013) pp. 11504-11517

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Abstract

We present high-resolution measurements of water vapour, aerosols and
clouds in the Arctic stratosphere in January and February 2010 carried
out by in situ instrumentation on balloon sondes and high-altitude
aircraft combined with satellite observations. The measurements provide
unparalleled evidence of dehydration and rehydration due to
gravitational settling of ice particles. An extreme cooling of the
Arctic stratospheric vortex during the second half of January 2010
resulted in a rare synoptic-scale outbreak of ice polar stratospheric
clouds (PSCs) remotely detected by the lidar aboard the CALIPSO
(Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation)
satellite. The widespread occurrence of ice clouds was followed by
sedimentation and consequent sublimation of ice particles, leading to
vertical redistribution of water inside the vortex. A sequence of
balloon and aircraft soundings with chilled mirror and Lyman-ff
hygrometers (Cryogenic Frost-point Hygrometer, CFH; Fast In Situ
Stratospheric Hygrometer, FISH; Fluorescent Airborne Stratospheric
Hygrometer, FLASH) and backscatter sondes (Compact Optical Backscatter
Aerosol Detector, COBALD) conducted in January 2010 within the LAPBIAT
(Lapland Atmosphere-Biosphere Facility) and RECONCILE (Reconciliation of
Essential Process Parameters for an Enhanced Predictability of Arctic
Stratospheric Ozone Loss and its Climate Interactions) campaigns
captured various phases of this phenomenon: ice formation, irreversible
dehydration and rehydration. Consistent observations of water vapour by
these independent measurement techniques show clear signatures of
irreversible dehydration of the vortex air by up to 1.6 ppmv in the
20-24 km altitude range and rehydration by up to 0.9 ppmv in a 1 km
thick layer below. Comparison with space-borne Aura MLS (Microwave Limb
Sounder) water vapour observations allow the spatiotemporal evolution of
dehydrated air masses within the Arctic vortex to be derived and
upscaled.

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