Articles | Volume 18, issue 5
31 May 2000
31 May 2000

Stratosphere-troposphere exchange in an extratropical cyclone, calculated with a Lagrangian method

M. Sigmond, J. Meloen, and P. C. Siegmund

Abstract. A Lagrangian technique is developed and applied to calculate stratosphere-troposphere exchange in an extratropical cyclone. This exchange is computed from the potential vorticity or PV along trajectories, calculated from ECMWF circulation data. Special emphasis is put on the statistical significance of the results. The computed field of the cross-tropopause flux is dominated by elongated patterns of statistically significant large downward and small upward fluxes. The downward fluxes mainly occur in the lower part of the considered tropopause folds. The upward fluxes are found near the entrance of the folds, in the tropopause ridges. The ratio between the area averaged downward and upward cross-tropopause fluxes increases with increasing strength of the cyclone. Since the largest fluxes are shown to occur in the regions with the largest wind shear, where PV-mixing is thought to cause large cross-tropopause fluxes, the results are expected to be reliable, at least in a qualitative sense. The position of a tropopause fold along the northwest coast of Africa is confirmed by total ozone observations. The results indicate that the applied Lagrangian technique is an appropriate tool for diagnosing stratosphere-troposphere exchange.

Key words: Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (general circulation; mesoscale meteorology; middle atmosphere dynamics)