Transport mechanisms for synoptic, seasonal and interannual SF6 variations and "age" of air in troposphere P. K. Patra1, M. Takigawa1, G. S. Dutton2, K. Uhse3, K. Ishijima1, B. R. Lintner4, K. Miyazaki1, and J. W. Elkins2 1Frontier Research Center for Global Change, JAMSTEC, Yokohama 236 001, Japan 2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO 80305, USA 3Umweltbundesamt – Federal Environment Agency, 63225 Langen, Germany 4Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1565, USA
Abstract. We use an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) driven chemistry-transport
model (ACTM) to simulate the evolution of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) in the
troposphere. The model results are compared with continuous measurements at 6
sites over 71° N–90° S. These comparisons demonstrate that the
ACTM simulations lie within the measurement uncertainty over the analysis
period (1999–2006) and capture salient features of synoptic, seasonal and
interannual SF6 variability. To understand transport timescales of SF6
within the troposphere, transport times of air parcels from the
surface to different regions of the troposphere ("age") are estimated from a
simulation of an idealized tracer. The age estimation error and its sensitivity
to the selection of reanalysis meteorology for ACTM nudging or the tracer
transport by deep cumulus convection as represented in the model are discussed.
Monthly-mean, 2-box model exchange times
(τex) are calculated from both the observed and simulated SF6 time
series at the 6 observing sites and show favorable agreement, suggesting that
the ACTM adequately represents large-scale interhemispheric transport. The
simulated SF6 variability is further investigated through decomposition of
the mixing ratio time-tendency into advective, convective, and vertical
diffusive components. The transport component analysis illustrates the role of
each process in SF6 synoptic variability at the site level and provides
insight into the seasonality of τex.
Citation: Patra, P. K., Takigawa, M., Dutton, G. S., Uhse, K., Ishijima, K., Lintner, B. R., Miyazaki, K., and Elkins, J. W.: Transport mechanisms for synoptic, seasonal and interannual SF6 variations and "age" of air in troposphere, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 1209-1225, doi:10.5194/acp-9-1209-2009, 2009.