Understanding the short- and long-term variations in stratospheric water vapor

Speaker: Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M

When: Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 3:30 p.m. Mountain Time
Location: Room 2A305, DSRC (NOAA Building), 325 Broadway, Boulder
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The regulation of stratospheric water vapor is a classic problem in atmospheric sciences, with important implications for both climate and stratospheric ozone chemistry. We present here simulations of stratospheric water vapor using a Lagrangian forward-trajectory model of the stratosphere covering the period 1987-2011. Analysis of the model suggests that variations in stratospheric water vapor over the last few decades are controlled by three factors: decadal variations in the Brewer-Dobson circulation, the QBO, and volcanic eruptions. We also see evidence for increases in the amount of water vapor entering the stratosphere, and implications for the next century will be discussed.