Water vapor intrusions into the High Arctic during winter

J. G. Doyle, G. Lesins, C. P. Thackray, C. Perro, G. J. Nott, T. J. Duck, R. Damoah, and J. R. Drummond, Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L12806, doi: 10.1029/2011GL047493, 2011.

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Abstract. The meridional transport of water vapor into the High Arctic, accompanied by dry enthalpy and clouds, impacts the surface radiative forcing. The evolution of one such moist intrusion over 9--11 February 2010 is presented. The event is analyzed using a unique blend of measurements including a new pan-Arctic retrieval of column water vapor from the Microwave Humidity Sounders, water vapor profiles from a Raman lidar and a ground-based microwave radiometer at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL), in Eureka (80N, 86W), on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. A radiation model reveals the intrusion is associated with a 17 W/m2 average increase in downwelling longwave irradiance. Optically thin clouds, as observed by the lidar, contribute a further 20 W/m2 to the downwelling longwave irradiance at their peak. Intrusion events are shown to be a regular occurrence in the Arctic winter with implications for the understanding of the mechanisms driving Arctic Amplification.

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