Atmos. Chem. Phys., 4, 1427-1442, 2004
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From the correlation of CO and O3 irreversible mixing of tropospheric air into the lowermost stratosphere is identified. The CO distribution indicates that transport and subsequent mixing of tropospheric air across the extratropical tropopause predominantly affects a layer, which closely follows the shape of the local tropopause. In addition, the seasonal cycle of CO2 illustrates the strong coupling of that layer to the extratropical troposphere. Both, horizontal gradients of CO on isentropes as well as the CO-O3-distribution in the lowermost stratosphere reveal that the influence of quasi-horizontal transport and subsequent mixing weakens with distance from the local tropopause. The mixing layer extends to about 25 K in potential temperature above the local tropopause exhibiting only a weak seasonality.
However, at large distances from the tropopause a significant influence of tropospheric air is still evident. The relation between N2O and CO2 indicates that a significant contribution of air originating from the tropical tropopause contributes to the background air in the extratropical lowermost stratosphere.