Impacts of tropical tropopause warming on the stratospheric water vapor

  • Yan XiaEmail author
  • Yi Huang
  • Yongyun Hu
  • Jun Yang


We investigate the impact of tropical tropopause warming on the stratospheric water vapor using the Specified-Dynamics version of the NCAR Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model. We find that the tropical tropopause warming results in a strengthening of the Brewer–Dobson circulation (BDC). The strengthening of BDC induced by a narrow warming of tropical tropopause within 12° latitude, which is much stronger in boreal winter than that in boreal summer, propagates more dry air from the tropical tropopause into the stratosphere and thus causes a reduction of water vapor in the middle stratosphere. On the contrary, the seasonal difference of the BDC strengthening is weaker in the experiment with a broader tropical tropopause warming within 25° latitude. The drying effect of the BDC is counteracted by the moistening effects of the tropical tropopause warming and methane oxidation. This leads to the moistening in both the lower and upper stratosphere. The results suggest the control of the stratospheric humidity by the tropical tropopause temperature could be significantly offset by the associated BDC changes.


Stratospheric water vapor Tropical tropopause temperature Brewer–Dobson circulation Specified Dynamics WACCM 



We thank Jian Yue for helpful comments. The data used are listed in the references, figures, and tables. This work is supported by the Discovery Program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (RGPIN 418305) and the Class G&C Program of the Canadian Space Agency (16SUASURDC). Y. Xia is supported by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation funded project (2018M630027). Y. Huang is supported by Grants from the Discovery Program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (RGPIN 418305-13) and the Team Research Project Program of the Fonds de Recherche du Québec-Nature et Technologies (PR-190145). Y. Hu is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, under Grants 41375072 and 41530423. J. Yang acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) Grant 41861124002.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of PhysicsPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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