Stratospheric water vapor plays an important role in the chemistry and radiation budget of the stratosphere. Throughout the last decades stratospheric water vapor levels have increased and several processes have been suggested to contribute to this trend. Here we present a mechanism that would link increasing anthropogenic SO2 emissions in southern and eastern Asia with an increase in stratospheric water. Trajectory studies and model simulations suggest that the SO2 increase results in the formation of more sulfuric acid aerosol particles in the upper tropical troposphere. As a consequence, more ice crystals of smaller size are formed in the tropical tropopause, which are lifted into the stratosphere more readily. Our model calculations suggest that such a mechanism could increase the amount of water that entered the stratosphere in the condensed phase by up to 0.5 ppmv from 1950-2000.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)