Stratospheric water vapor increases over the past half-century


  • K. H. Rosenlof,

  • S. J. Oltmans,

  • D. Kley,

  • J. M. Russell III,

  • E.-W. Chiou,

  • W. P. Chu,

  • D. G. Johnson,

  • K. K. Kelly,

  • H. A. Michelsen,

  • G. E. Nedoluha,

  • E. E. Remsberg,

  • G. C. Toon,

  • M. P. McCormick


Ten data sets covering the period 1954–2000 are analyzed to show a 1%/yr increase in stratospheric water vapor. The trend has persisted for at least 45 years, hence is unlikely the result of a single event, but rather indicative of long-term climate change. A long-term change in the transport of water vapor into the stratosphere is the most probable cause.