Related Research Areas
Atmospheric Composition

We propose a four-year program of balloonsonde observations of tropical water vapor and ozone together with investigations of physical and dynamical processes in the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS). The observational program will consist of weekly ECC ozonesonde launches from our site in Costa Rica with the payload supplemented every fourth week by the cryogenic frostpoint hygrometer (CFH). In addition, we will launch radiosondes twice-weekly to monitor tropical waves in the UT/LS. The CFH water vapor data from Costa Rica are well suited to monitor the atmospheric tape recorder and the long-term upward trend in stratospheric water vapor. The observations will also provide data for validation of satellite measurements, and we plan to integrate the site into the GCOS Research Upper Air Network (GRUAN.) The CFH and ozone data, complemented by satellite observations from CALIPSO and MLS, will be used to address science questions related to the microphysics of water vapor and clouds and the nature of horizontal transport processes in the UT/LS. CFH and ECC data sets from Costa Rica as well as from the Galapagos Islands and Indonesia will be employed in the analysis. We will study the variability of CFH humidity and supersaturation in the upper troposphere and at the coldpoint tropopause and then use the data with data on thin cirrus from CALIPSO and ice water data from the Aura MLS instrument to investigate the humidity of cloud layers and the relationship between clouds to supersaturated layers frequently seen in CFH profiles. We will also examine the origins of layered structures in ozone in the UT/LS to distinguish effects of layering due to atmospheric waves and that due to horizontal transport, including the occasional intrusion of laminae from middle latitudes. This proposal will provide NASA with an atmospheric field measurement system to monitor climate-related trace gas composition in the UT/LS, to support potential airborne campaigns addressing chemical and dynamical processes in the tropics, and to provide validation data for current and future NASA satellites. Expected significant results will include (a) a climatology of water vapor in the tropical UT/LS, (b) estimates of interannual variability of water vapor in the UT/LS, (c) identification of the frequency of supersaturated layers in clear air and in thin cirrus layers and (d) characterization of transport events leading to layered ozone profiles in the tropics.

Project PI: Henry Selkirk/Bay Area Environmental Research Institute

Code 613.3, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD 20771

Phone: (301) 614-6846

Fax: (301) 614-5903

Email: Henry.


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Started: Aug 09, 2010

Last Activity: Mar 18, 2011


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