Observation of Stratospheric Water Vapor
Science Background and Motivation
Water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere plays a significant role in maintaining Earth's global temperature. The temperature of the tropical tropopause largely determines the amount of water that is transported from the troposphere into the stratosphere. However, very few direct observations of water vapor at the tropical tropopause exist. The Ticosonde observational site, which is located in the deep tropics, conducts monthly in situ measurements of water vapor at the tropical tropopause and in the tropical lower stratosphere. It is the only site that conducts these difficult observations throughout the year. No other site does year round measurements of water vapor in the lower stratosphere, making our site the only one of its kind. NASA supports validations of satellite remote sensing water vapor measurements, including those from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS).
Climatology: Stratospheric water vapor
Ticosonde has measured upper tropospheric and lower stratospheric water vapor since 2005. The long term climatology encompasses over 200 soundings for stratospheric water vapor over more than 12 years.
Climatology: Tropospheric water vapor
The soundings provide additional information about tropospheric water vapor and help to visualize the seasons at Costa Rica.
The middle troposphere during November through March is significantly drier than during the rainy season April through October. However, the relative humidity levels in the uppermost troposphere remain high throughout the year.
Papers and Presentations