Bulk Properties of Isentropic Mixing Into the Tropics in the Lower Stratosphere

by Minschwaner, Dessler, Elkins, Volk, Fahey, Loewenstein, Podolske, Roche, and Chan

Published in the Journal of Geophysical Research

April, 1996

Abstract: Timescales for mixing of midlatitude air into the tropical lower stratosphere are deduced from observations of long-lived tracers N2O and CCl3F. Bulk mixing between tropical and midlatitude regions is assumed to be isentropic and relatively slow compared with local mixing within each region. The mean value of the mixing timescale ranges from 12 to 18 months near 20 km. There is a tendency for shorter mixing times at higher and lower altitudes, although vertical profiles of mixing cannot be definitively established by the data. A more robust quantity is given by the fraction of midlatitude air entrained into the tropical upwelling region. Implied mixing fractions exceed 50% above 22 km.

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This information is being made available by Ken Minschwaner at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology's Physics Department.