National Weather Center Colloquium

Upper tropospheric and lower stratosphere water vapor observations from satellite, balloon and aircraft: what have we learned over the past 70 years?

Dr. Karen Rosenlof

Leader, Chemistry and Climate Processes Group
NOAA ESRL, Boulder

06 September 2016, 4:00 PM

National Weather Center, Room 1313
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

The first stratospheric water vapor measurements were made using an aircraft frost point hygrometer in 1943; while originally intended to assess when contrails would form, these measurements were then used to determine mass transport throughout the stratosphere. Balloon measurement of stratospheric water started in the 1960s, and the first global satellite measurements were in 1978. A limited number of stations have made measurements long enough to assess trends, and there have been numerous aircraft measurements using multiple techniques to examine processes in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). These are of interest from a climate perspective, due to the radiative impact of UTLS water, and because analysis of variations in UTLS water leads to increased understanding of both atmospheric transport and microphysical processes. This presentation will provide review of UTLS water vapor measurements and key findings learned from analysis of aircraft, balloon and satellite measurements and then present new results regarding water vapor, ozone, and ice measurements taken during the 2015/2016 El Nino event.

Speaker bio

National Weather Center Colloquium Seminar Series website