Feb 8, 2016

The need for accurate long-term measurements of water vapor in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere with global coverage

Müller, Rolf, Kunz, Anne, Hurst, Dale F., Rolf, Christian, Krämer, Martina, Riese, Martin
Earth's Future
  • Reviews the state of the science on water vapor in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere
  • States changes in atmospheric CO2 constitute the principal “control knob” governing the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere
  • States water vapor concentrations in the atmosphere are determined by condensation—and thus by temperature—rather than by water vapor sources
  • States increasing atmospheric CO2 also causes changes in the tropospheric Hadley circulation, with implications for convective ascent, cloud patterns, and thus the tropospheric humidity distribution, particularly in the tropics
  • States climate models find enhanced warming in the tropical upper troposphere due to changes in the temperature lapse rate, impacting both moisture changes and radiative effects in this region so that lapse rate changes and water vapor changes in the tropical upper troposphere need to be considered together