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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Regular paper 11 Jul 2018

Regular paper | 11 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO).

Strong downdrafts preceding rapid tropopause ascent and their potential to identify cross-tropopause stratospheric intrusions

Feilong Chen1, Gang Chen1, Chunhua Shi2, Yufang Tian3, Shaodong Zhang1, and Kaiming Huang1 Feilong Chen et al.
  • 1School of Electronic Information, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 3Key Laboratory of Middle Atmosphere and Global Environment Observation, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China

Abstract. The capability of measuring 3-dimensional wind and tropopause structure with relatively high time and vertical resolution makes VHF radar a potentially significant tool for studying various processes of the atmosphere. Here the potential detection of possible stratospheric intrusion events is discussed using the Beijing MST radar located at Xianghe (39.75°N, 116.96°E). During the passage of a cut-off low in late November 2014, a deep V-shaped tropopause structure, and strong downdrafts (>0.8m/s) immediately preceding the rapid tropopause ascent (>0.2km/h) were observed. Within the height region of the downdrafts, the normal radar-tropopause layer seems to be destroyed (weakened) with the decreased echo intensity. Analysis results from global reanalysis and the satellite data, as well as the trajectory model have shown the clear evidence of the downward stratospheric intrusions (dry ozone-rich and depleted methane air) associated with the strong downdrafts. According to the previous studies and the present case observation, the strong downdrafts preceding rapid tropopause ascent are considered as a significant signature of stratospheric intrusions. Twenty typical cases of such strong downdrafts, occurring during various synoptic processes in different seasons, have been presented and 16 of them are exactly associated with some form of stratospheric intrusions. Four years (2012–2015) of such downdrafts are further discussed. The observations reveal that the strong downdrafts preceding the rapid tropopause ascent can be a valuable diagnostic for monitoring intrusion events, which will gain a better understanding of stratospheric intrusions in VHF radar observations.

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Feilong Chen et al.
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Short summary
Downward stratospheric intrusions have been well known an important source of tropospheric ozone. In the light of present understanding, using VHF radars to identify possible stratospheric intrusions still remain unclear. Our study has found that the radar observed strong downdrafts just preceding the rapid tropopause ascent are strong predictor for possible intrusions. This will have important implications for air-quality monitoring and long-term estimation of tropospheric ozone.
Downward stratospheric intrusions have been well known an important source of tropospheric...