Diagnosis of mixing between middle latitudes and the polar vortex from tracer-tracer correlations



[1] A method is introduced for diagnosing mixing between the polar vortex and midlatitudes from tracer data. Tracers with different photochemical activities and lifetimes usually exhibit curved tracer-tracer correlation functions on an isentropic surface. The effect of mixing events is to populate the inner side of such a curve. Using simultaneous measurements of trace gases or model results, we exploit this process to calculate the distribution of recent origins in tracer space prior to such a mixing event. The method relies on both hemispheric and local data and is applicable to situations where mixing is nonlocal in tracer space. It is applied to measurements taken during the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III Ozone Loss and Validation Experiment/Third European Stratospheric Experiment on Ozone 2000 (SOLVE/THESEO 2000) winter campaign and to a chemical transport model simulation covering the same winter. In one of the cases studied, a vortex breakup and subsequent remerger of the vortex fragments in March 2000 results in significant diagnosed mixing. In a further example, an elongated filament shed off the polar vortex is characterized by anomalous composition. For the two high-altitude aircraft flights of the SOLVE campaign that probe the vortex boundary, a correspondence is found for mixing diagnosed in the measurements and in the model. Mixing timescales considered here are given by the life span of planetary waves, up to a few weeks.