We use high-frequency in situ observations made from the DC8 to examine fine-scale tracer structure and correlations observed in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere during INTEX-NA. Two flights of the NASA DC-8 are compared and contrasted. Chemical data from the DC-8 flight on 18 July show evidence for interleaving and mixing of polluted and stratospheric air masses in the vicinity of the subtropical jet in the upper troposphere, while on 2 August the DC-8 flew through a polluted upper troposphere and a lowermost stratosphere that showed evidence of an intrusion of polluted air. We compare data from both flights with RAQMS 3-D global meteorological and chemical model fields to establish dynamical context and to diagnose processes regulating the degree of mixing on each day. We also use trajectory mapping of the model fields to show that filamentary structure due to upstream strain deformation contributes to tracer variability observed in the upper troposphere. An Eulerian measure of strain versus rotation in the large-scale flow is found useful in predicting filamentary structure in the vicinity of the jet. Higher-frequency (6–24 km) tracer variability is attributed to buoyancy wave oscillations in the vicinity of the jet, whose turbulent dissipation leads to efficient mixing across tracer gradients.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Geophysical Research



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type



Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.