• stratosphere;
  • aerosol;

[1] The evolution of the aerosols in the tropical stratosphere since the beginning of the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) mission in June 2006 is investigated using Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) lidar data. It is shown that the current operational calibration requires adjustment in the tropics. Indeed, on the basis of the assumption of pure Rayleigh scattering between 30 and 34 km the current calibration leads to an average underestimation of the scattering ratio by 6% because of the significant amount of aerosols up to 35 km altitude in the tropics, in contrast to midlatitudes. A better result is obtained by adjusting the calibration to higher altitudes, 36–39 km, where past Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) II extinction measurements showed an almost complete absence of aerosols. After recalibration the tropical stratospheric aerosol picture provided by CALIOP during the first 2 years of the mission reveals significant changes in the aerosol concentration associated with different transport processes. In the stratosphere the slow ascent of several volcanic layers and their meridional transport toward the subtropics are very consistent with the Brewer-Dobson circulation. The near-zero vertical velocity observed around 20 km during the Northern Hemisphere (NH) summer is in good agreement with radiative heating calculation. In the Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL), weak depolarizing particles are observed during land convective periods, particularly intense over South Asia during the monsoon season. Finally, seasonal fast occurrence of apparent clean air in the TTL during the NH winter requires more investigations to understand its origin.