On the relative role of convection, chemistry, and transport over the South Pacific Convergence Zone during PEM-Tropics B: A case study

Céline Mari, Carine Saüt, Daniel J. Jacob, Amanda Staudt, Melody A. Avery, William H. Brune, Ian Faloona, Brian G. Heikes, Glen W. Sachse, Scott T. Sandholm, Hanwant B. Singh, David Tan

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18 Scopus citations


A mesoscale 3D model (Meso-NH) is used to assess the relative importance of convection (transport and scavenging), chemistry, and advection in the vertical redistribution of HOx and their precursors in the upper tropical troposphere. The study is focused on marine deep convection over the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) during the PEM-Tropics B Flight 10 aircraft mission. The model reproduces well the HOx mixing ratios. Vertical variations and the contrast between north and south of the SPCZ for O3 are captured. Convection uplifted O3-poor air at higher altitude, creating a minimum in the 9-12 km region, in both modeled and observed profiles. The model captured 60% of the observed HCHO variance but fails to reproduce a peak of HCHO mixing ratio at 300 hPa sampled during the northern spirals. Simulated HCHO mixing ratios underestimate observations in the marine boundary layer. In the model, convection is not an efficient process to increase upper tropospheric HCHO, and HCHO is unlikely to serve as a primary source of HOx. Convection plays an important role in the vertical distribution of CH3OOH with efficient vertical transport from the boundary layer to the 10-15 km region where it can act as a primary source of HOx. The SPCZ region acts as a barrier to mixing of tropical and subtropical air at the surface and at high altitudes (above 250 hPa . The 400-270 hPa region over the convergence zone was more permeable, allowing subtropical air masses from the Southern Hemisphere to mix with tropical air from NE of the SPCZ and to be entrained in the SPCZ-related convection. In this altitude range, exchange of subtropical and tropical air also occurs via airflow, bypassing the convective region SW and proceeding toward the north of the SPCZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)PEM 4-1 PEM 4-16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 27 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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