Horizontal transport affecting trace gas seasonality in the Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL)



[1] We analyze horizontal transport from midlatitudes into the tropics (in-mixing) and its impact on seasonal variations of ozone, carbon monoxide and water vapor in the Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL). For this purpose, we use three-dimensional backward trajectories, driven by ECMWF ERA-Interim winds, and a conceptual one-dimensional model of the chemical composition of the TTL. We find that the fraction of in-mixed midlatitude air shows an annual cycle with maximum during NH summer, resulting from the superposition of two inversely phased annual cycles for in-mixing from the NH and SH, respectively. In-mixing is driven by the monsoonal upper-level anticyclonic circulations. This circulation pattern is dominated by the Southeast Asian summer monsoon and, correspondingly, in-mixing shows an annual cycle. The impact of in-mixing on TTL mixing ratios depends on the in-mixed fraction of midlatitude air and on the meridional gradient of the particular species. For CO the meridional gradient and consequently the effect of in-mixing is weak. For water vapor, in-mixing effects are negligible. For ozone, the meridional gradient is large and the contribution of in-mixing to the ozone maximum during NH summer is about 50%. This in-mixing contribution is not sensitive to the tropical ascent velocity, which is about 40% too fast in ERA-Interim. As photochemically produced ozone in the TTL shows no distinct summer maximum, the ozone annual anomaly in the upper TTL turns out to be mainly forced by in-mixing of ozone-rich extratropical air during NH summer.