Articles | Volume 19, issue 8
Special issue:
31 Aug 2001
 | 31 Aug 2001

Mixing processes in a tropopause folding observed by a network of ST radar and lidar

F. Bertin, B. Campistron, J. L. Caccia, and R. Wilson

Abstract. A campaign devoted to stratosphere-troposphere exchange mechanisms studies has been held on 4–5 March 1995, during a tropopause folding passage over western Europe. The observational network included 1 UHF and 3 VHF radar, 1 temperature lidar, and 1 ozone lidar, deployed in the south of France. The fold is associated with a strong quasi meridional jet stream running along the west side of an upper level trough forming a potential vorticity (PV) anomaly. During this campaign, the PV anomaly is advected east-wards without major deformations, with an average velocity of about 30 km per hour. Therefore, a frozen field hypothesis has been used in order to compare the results obtained in the different sites of the network. Under this hypothesis, the same structures associated with the anomaly are observed by each radar or lidar, at the same time relative to this anomaly. The fold is put into evidence by the ozone lidar of the network and by the VHF radars when computing the aspect ratio. The turbulent activity observed by the OHP VHF radar and by the high resolution UHF PROUST radar (30 m altitude resolution) is concentrated in the wind shear regions generated by the jet stream above and below its axis. In the lower level wind shear, turbulent layers are detected within the fold and across its anticyclonic boundary, thus allowing turbulent exchanges with the tropospheric air masses. A large area of aspect ratio greater than 3 is observed in the troposphere during more than ten hours after the passage of the fold by the VHF radars. This particular signature is tentatively analyzed as the progressive dilution of air masses of stratospheric origin extruded from the fold by the turbulent processes. In the upper level wind shears, turbulent layers parallel to the wind isotachs are observed, whose thickness is often smaller than 100 m and are separated by non turbulent regions. A good correlation is found between the spatio-temporal evolution of these turbulent structures observed by the PROUST radar, and the stability structures observed at the same relative time by the temperature lidar. In addition the same turbulent structures are observed to be parallel to the isophase lines of the wind fluctuations, observed at the same relative time by the Lannemezan radar. These characteristics are compatible with the presence of unstable inertia-gravity waves, generated by the jet stream while the turbulent layers could be the signature of their saturation processes.

Key words. Atmospheric composition and structure (evolution of the atmosphere) – Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (middle atmosphere dynamics; turbulence)

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