HUMIDITY UP TO THE MESOPAUSE
Air Force Surveys in geophysics no. 206
AIR FORCE CAMBRIDGE RESEARCH LABS HANSCOM AFB MA
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The results of seventeen northern California soundings of humidity up to 25 to 30 km, generally a month apart, utilizing a high sophisticated alpha- radiation hydrometer and associated balloon sounding equipment are described. The stratosphere was never found to be near saturation as has been suggested by some investigators, nor was it as dry and completely devoid of variability as is indicated by most accepted circulation theory. A very dry layer was found above the tropopause, followed by a slight increase in humidity up to an average altitude of about 25 km. Above this level, a general decrease in water vapor with altitude was deduced. Variability in this region of the lower stratosphere approached a factor of 10. Spasmodic transfer of water vapor upward through the tropopause is suggested, and speculation related thereto provided. A model moisture profile is presented as an engineering reference standard. Typical dew point or frost point and mixing ratio profiles from the surface to 80 km for mid-latitudes are provided. The model is based on latest compilations of tropospheric and stratospheric humidity data up to 32 km and experimental rocket samplings of noctilucent clouds.
- Atmospheric Physics