If I release a say, one litre of gas, at a particular point on the planet, how soon, on average, would it take to be distributed evenly (mixed) across the entire earth's atmosphere?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain what do you mean by homologize? Do you mean mix entirely until evenly distributed? $\endgroup$ May 23, 2014 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly that, evenly distributed - you've phrased it far better. There seems to be far more data on the circulation of the ocean, but I want some estimate of this to include in a seminar, and I'd rather it be an informed estimate rather then my best guess. $\endgroup$
    – nemo183
    May 23, 2014 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ @nemo183 I believe the word you want is "homogenize", rather than "homologize". $\endgroup$
    – senshin
    May 23, 2014 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ You are right. I'd couldn't decide between the two, and choose the wrong option. $\endgroup$
    – nemo183
    May 24, 2014 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


The time scale of interhemispheric tropospheric transport is in the order of one year (Chapter 4 of the book Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry written by Daniel J Jacob). This is not an exact answer to your question, but might be a fair enough number for the problem you have in mind.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, BHF. I've now read the chapter and I doubt there is a fuller explanation. It's exactly what I'd hoped for - always nice to have the maths to hand! $\endgroup$
    – nemo183
    May 24, 2014 at 23:53
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    $\begingroup$ @nemo while this answer is sufficient, a fuller explanation exists, for example to include discussion of residence times and stratosphere mixixing. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2014 at 5:13

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