Measurements of trace gases in the tropical tropopause layer

T. P. Marcy, P. J. Popp, R. S. Gao, D. W. Fahey, E. A. Ray, E. C. Richard, T. L. Thompson, E. L. Atlas, M. Loewenstein, S. C. Wofsy, S. Park, E. M. Weinstock, W. H. Swartz, M. J. Mahoney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A unique dataset of airborne in situ observations of HCl, O3, HNO3, H2O, CO, CO2 and CH3Cl has been made in and near the tropical tropopause layer (TTL). A total of 16 profiles across the tropopause were obtained at latitudes between 10°N and 3°S from the NASA WB-57F high-altitude aircraft flying from Costa Rica. Few in situ measurements of these gases, particularly HCl and HNO3, have been reported for the TTL. The general features of the trace gas vertical profiles are consistent with the concept of the TTL as distinct from the lower troposphere and lower stratosphere. A combination of the tracer profiles and correlations with O3 is used to show that a measurable amount of stratospheric air is mixed into this region. The HCl measurements offer an important constraint on stratospheric mixing into the TTL because once the contribution from halocarbon decomposition is quantified, the remaining HCl (>60% in this study) must have a stratospheric source. Stratospheric HCl in the TTL brings with it a proportional amount of stratospheric O3. Quantifying the sources of O3 in the TTL is important because O3 is particularly effective as a greenhouse gas in the tropopause region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7253-7261
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number34
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Ozone
  • Stratosphere
  • Tropical
  • Tropopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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