This title appears in the Scientific Report : 2014 

Satellite observations of cirrus clouds in the Northern Hemisphere lowermost stratosphere
Spang, R. (Corresponding Author)
Günther, G. / Riese, M. / Hoffmann, L. / Müller, Rolf / Griessbach, S.
Jülich Supercomputing Center; JSC
Stratosphäre; IEK-7
Atmospheric chemistry and physics / Discussions, 14 (2014) 8, S. 12323 - 12375
Journal Article
Computational Science and Mathematical Methods
Please use the identifier: in citations.
Please use the identifier: in citations.
Here we present observations of the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA) of cirrus cloud and water vapour in August 1997 in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) region. The observations indicate a considerable flux of moisture from the upper tropical troposphere into the extra-tropical lowermost stratosphere (LMS), resulting in the occurrence of high altitude optically thin cirrus clouds in the LMS.The locations of the LMS cloud events observed by CRISTA are consistent with the tropopause height determined from coinciding radiosonde data. For a hemispheric analysis in tropopause relative coordinates an improved tropopause determination has been applied to the ECMWF temperature profiles. We found that a significant fraction of the cloud occurrences in the tropopause region are located in the LMS, even if a conservative overestimate of the cloud top height (CTH) determination by CRISTA of 500 m is assumed. The results show rather high occurrence frequencies (∼5%) up to high northern latitudes (70° N) and altitudes well above the tropopause (>500 m at ∼350 K and above) in large areas at mid and high latitudes.Comparisons with model runs of the Chemical Lagragian Model of the Stratosphere (CLaMS) over the CRISTA period show a reasonable consistency for the retrieved cloud pattern. For this purpose a limb ray tracing approach was applied through the 3-D model fields to obtain integrated measurement information through the atmosphere along the limb path of the instrument. The simplified cirrus scheme implemented in CLaMS seems to cause a systematic underestimation in the CTH occurrence frequencies in the LMS with respect to the observations. The observations together with the model results demonstrate the importance of isentropic, quasi-horizontal transport of water vapour from the sub-tropics and the potential for the occurrence of cirrus clouds in the lowermost stratosphere and tropopause region.