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Global and temporal distribution of meteoric smoke: a two-dimensional simulation study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
2008 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 113, no D3, D03202- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Meteoric material entering Earth's atmosphere ablates in the mesosphere and is then expected to recondense into tiny so-called “smoke particles.” These particles are thought to be of great importance for middle atmosphere phenomena like noctilucent clouds, polar mesospheric summer echoes, metal layers, and heterogeneous chemistry. Commonly used one-dimensional (1-D) meteoric smoke profiles refer to average global conditions and yield of the order of a thousand nanometer sized particles per cubic centimeter at the mesopause, independent of latitude and time of year. Using the first two-dimensional model of both coagulation and transport of meteoric material we here show that such profiles are too simplistic, and that the distribution of smoke particles indeed is dependent on both latitude and season. The reason is that the atmospheric circulation, which cannot be properly handled by 1-D models, efficiently transports the particles to the winter hemisphere and down into the polar vortex. Using the assumptions commonly used in 1-D studies results in number densities of nanometer sized particles of around 4000 cm−3 at the winter pole, while very few particles remain at the Arctic summer mesopause. If smoke particles are the only nucleation kernel for ice in the mesosphere this would imply that there could only be of the order of 100 or less ice particles cm−3 at the Arctic summer mesopause. This is much less than the ice number densities expected for the formation of ice phenomena (noctilucent clouds and polar mesospheric summer echoes) that commonly occur in this region. However, we find that especially the uncertainty of the amount of material that is deposited in Earth's atmosphere imposes a large error bar on this number, which may allow for number densities up to 1000 cm−3 near the polar summer mesopause. This efficient transport of meteoric material to the winter hemisphere and down into the polar vortex results in higher concentrations of meteoric material in the Arctic winter stratosphere than previously thought. This is of potential importance for the formation of the so-called stratospheric condensation nuclei layer and for stratospheric nucleation processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 113, no D3, D03202- p.
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25116DOI: 10.1029/2007JD009054ISI: 000252825500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-25116DiVA: diva2:198934
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7734Available from: 2008-05-14 Created: 2008-05-14 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Meteoric Aerosols in the Middle Atmosphere
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Meteoric Aerosols in the Middle Atmosphere
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis concerns the fate of the meteoric smoke in the Middle Atmosphere, and its effect on ice phenomena such as noctilucent clouds (NLC) and polar stratospheric clouds (PSC).

The potential role of NLC as tracer for mesospheric processes and variability, and as a tool for monitoring this remote and inaccessible region, has generated substantial interest within the scientific community. The nucleation of ice in such a dry environment is not trivial. Supersaturation is considered too low for homogeneous nucleation. Hence, pre-existing condensation nuclei are deemed necessary, with smoke particles having long been considered the most likely candidate. Here we show that the atmospheric circulation transports meteoric smoke particles away from the polar region before they coagulate large enough to efficiently act as ice condensation nuclei. We also show that the charging of meteoric smoke, in combination with deviations from the mean thermal state, may solve this dilemma by significantly altering the ice nucleation properties of smoke. Thus, while it is highly questionable whether neutral smoke can provide sufficient amounts of condensation nuclei for ice formation at the polar summer mesopause, charged meteoric smoke proves to be a promising candidate to explain mesospheric ice phenomena as we observe them.

We further show that the bulk of the meteoric material is transported to the Arctic winter stratosphere, yielding significantly higher concentrations of meteoric smoke in the region of PSC nucleation than has previously been believed. Our new predictions of meteoric smoke in this region may thus shed new light on open questions relating to PSC nucleation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Meteorologiska institutionen (MISU), 2008. 32 p.
Keyword
meteoroid, meteor, nucleation, mesosphere, stratosphere, ablation, smoke, NLC, PMSE, PSC
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7734 (URN)978-91-7155-676-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-06-05, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-14 Created: 2008-05-14Bibliographically approved

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