Global and temporal distribution of meteoric smoke: a two-dimensional simulation study
2008 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, Vol. 113, no D3, D03202- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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.
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject Atmospheric Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25116DOI: 10.1029/2007JD009054ISI: 000252825500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-25116DiVA: diva2:198934
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-77342008-05-142008-05-142010-01-21Bibliographically approved