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Mean age of stratospheric air as derived from MIPAS SF6 distributions

Gabriele P. Stiller(1), Thomas von Clarmann(1), Herbert Fischer(1), Bernd Funke(2), Gizaw Mengistu Tsidu(1,3), Norbert Glatthor(1), Udo Grabowski(1), Michael Höpfner(1), Sylvia Kellmann(1), Michael Kiefer(1), Andrea Linden(1), Mathias Milz(1), Tilman Steck(1), Ding-Yi Yang(1,5), Manuel López-Puertas(2) and J. Steinwagner(4)

(1) Forschungszentrum / University Karlsruhe, P.O. Box 3640, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
(2) Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Apartado Postal 3004, 18080 Granada, Spain
(3) University of Bremen, Otto-Hahn-Allee 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany
(4) Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
(5) SAIC/GSO, 7501 Forbes Blvd, Seabrook, Maryland 20706, United States


The mean age of stratospheric air is a fundamental parameter of stratospheric transport. It allows to diagnose the ability of the atmosphere to transport tropospheric air parcels, contaminated with pollutants or climate gases, to certain places in the stratosphere. There is indication that the strength of the Brewer-Dobson circulation is correlated to the solar cycle, leading to longer residence times of trace gases in the stratosphere during solar maximum. A suitable tracer to study the variability of stratospheric transport and the mean age of stratospheric air is SF6. However, mid-infrared remote sensing SF6 observations are difficult due to the weak mid-infrared spectral signature of SF6, combined with the high accuracy needed to determine the age of the air. SF6 is a non-operational product from MIPAS generated, among other places, at IMK. The retrieval approach is discussed in detail, including systematic error sources. Mean age distributions of stratospheric air are presented and compared to expected values, and transport processes are discussed.

The IMK/IAA MIPAS-ENVISAT TEAM is: T. von Clarmann (1), H. Fischer (1), B. Funke (2), N. Glatthor (1), U. Grabowski (1), M. Höpfner (1), S. Kellmann (1), M. Kiefer (1), A. Linden (1), M. López-Puertas (2), M. Milz (1), T. Steck (1), G.P. Stiller (1)

(1) Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe/University of Karlsruhe, Institut fuer Meteorologie und Klimaforschung, Karlsruhe, Germany; (2) Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, CSIC, Granada, Spain


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry