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In situ measurements of background aerosol and subvisible cirrus in the tropical tropopause region


Borrmann,  S.
Particle Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Thomas, A., Borrmann, S., Kiemle, C., Cairo, F., Volk, M., Beuermann, J., et al. (2002). In situ measurements of background aerosol and subvisible cirrus in the tropical tropopause region. Journal of Geophysical Research, 107(D24): 4763. doi:10.1029/2001JD001385.

[1] In situ aerosol measurements were performed in the Indian Ocean Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) region during the Airborne Polar Experiment-Third European Stratospheric Experiment on Ozone (APE-THESEO) field campaign based in Mahe, Seychelles between 24 February and 6 March 1999. These are measurements of particle size distributions with a laser optical particle counter of the Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe (FSSP)-300 type operated on the Russian M-55 high- altitude research aircraft Geophysica in the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere up to altitudes of 21 km. On 24 and 27 February 1999, ultrathin layers of cirrus clouds were penetrated by Geophysica directly beneath the tropical tropopause at 17 km pressure altitude and temperatures below 190 K. These layers also were concurrently observed by the Ozone Lidar Experiment (OLEX) lidar operating on the lower- flying German DLR Falcon research aircraft. The encountered ultrathin subvisual cloud layers can be characterized as (1) horizontally extending over several hundred kilometers, (2) persisting for at least 3 hours (but most likely much longer), and (3) having geometrical thicknesses of 100-400 m. These cloud layers belong to the geometrically and optically thinnest ever observed. In situ particle size distributions covering diameters between 0.4 and 23 mum obtained from these layers are juxtaposed with those obtained inside cloud veils around cumulonimbus (Cb) anvils and also with background aerosol measurements in the vicinity of the clouds. A significant number of particles with size diameters around 10 mum were detected inside these ultrathin subvisible cloud layers. The cloud particle size distribution closely resembles a background aerosol onto which a modal peak between 2 and 17 mum is superimposed. Measurements of particles with sizes above 23 mum could not be obtained since no suitable instrument was available on Geophysica. During the flight of 6 March 1999, upper tropospheric and lower stratospheric background aerosol was measured in the latitude band between 4degreesS and 19degreesS latitude. The resulting particle number densities along the 56th meridian exhibit very little latitudinal variation. The concentrations for particles with sizes above 0.5 m m encountered under these background conditions varied between 0.1 and 0.3 particles/cm(3) of air in altitudes between 17 and 21 km.