Characterizing Extratropical Tropopause Bimodality and its Relationship to the Occurrence of Double Tropopauses Using COSMIC GPS Radio Occultation Observations Academic Article uri icon


  • Lapse rate tropopause (LRT) heights in the extratropics have been shown to display a bimodal distribution, with one modal maxima above 15 km (typical of the tropical tropopause) and the other below 13 km (typical of the extratropical tropopause). The climatology of the tropopause is studied by characterizing tropopause bimodality and how it relates to the occurrence of double tropopauses (DTs). LRT heights are derived from Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) GPS Radio Occultation temperature profiles from 2006 to 2017. Tropopause bimodality occurs most frequently within a subtropical band (2040) in both hemispheres. A distinct seasonality is observed as bimodality occurs most frequently in winter except for another local maximum along the northern edge of the Asian summer monsoon. The regions with a bimodal height distribution nearly overlap the regions that experience a high frequency of DTs. DTs occur most frequently in winter (50%70% of the time) along the poleward edge of the bimodal band, and most LRT heights are within the extratropical mode (>80%), whereas DT occurrence decreases quickly toward the equatorward edge (<20%) along with fewer LRT heights in the extratropical mode (<50%). These results indicate that LRT height bimodality occurs along the equatorward edge due to the occurrences of double tropopauses, while the poleward edge is due to single tropopause profiles that are more tropical in nature.

published proceedings

  • Remote Sensing

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnston, B., & Xie, F.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Johnston, Benjamin||Xie, Feiqin