Variations of stratospheric water vapor over the past three decades Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. We examine variations in water vapor in air entering the stratosphere through the tropical tropopause layer (TTL) over the past three decades in satellite data and in a trajectory model. Most of the variance can be explained by three processes that affect the TTL: the quasi-biennial oscillation, the strength of the Brewer-Dobson circulation, and the temperature of the tropical troposphere. When these factors act in phase, significant variations in water entering the stratosphere are possible. We also find that volcanic eruptions, which inject aerosol into the TTL, affect the amount of water entering the stratosphere. While there is clear decadal variability in the data and models, we find little evidence for a long-term trend in water entering the stratosphere through the TTL over the past 3 decades.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 10.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Dessler, A. E., Schoeberl, M. R., Wang, T., Davis, S. M., Rosenlof, K. H., & Vernier, J.

citation count

  • 90

complete list of authors

  • Dessler, AE||Schoeberl, MR||Wang, T||Davis, SM||Rosenlof, KH||Vernier, J-P

publication date

  • November 2014