Seasonal variations of stratospheric age spectra in the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry Climate Model (GEOSCCM)

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Abstract

[1] The stratospheric age spectrum is the probability distribution function of the transit times since a stratospheric air parcel had last contact with a tropospheric boundary region. Previous age spectrum studies have focused on its annual mean properties. Knowledge of the age spectrum's seasonal variability is very limited. In this study, we investigate the seasonal variations of the stratospheric age spectra using the pulse tracer method in the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry Climate Model (GEOSCCM). The relationships between the age spectrum and the boundary impulse response (BIR) are reviewed, and a simplified method to reconstruct seasonally varying age spectra is introduced. The age spectra in GEOSCCM have strong seasonal cycles, especially in the lowermost and lower stratosphere and in the subtropical overworld. These changes reflect the seasonal evolution of the Brewer-Dobson circulation, isentropic mixing, and transport barriers. We also investigate the seasonal and interannual variations of the BIRs. Our results clearly show that computing an ensemble of seasonally dependent BIRs is necessary in order to capture the seasonal and annual mean properties of the stratospheric age spectrum.

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