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Title: Planetary Boundary Layer Height (PBL) Value Added Product (VAP): Radiosonde Retrievals

Abstract

The planetary boundary layer (PBL) can be defined as “that part of the troposphere that is directly influenced by the presence of the earth’s surface…” (Stull 1988). The PBL height (or mixing layer depth) can vary significantly with time due to a number of factors including large-scale dynamics, cloudiness, convective mixing, and the diurnal cycle of solar radiation. The structure and depth of the PBL is important to a wide range of atmospheric processes, including cloud formation; aerosol mixing, transport, and transformation; and chemical mixing, transport, and transformation. Errors in the determination of the PBL height in models can significantly impact the formation and maintenance of low-level clouds (Zeng et al. 2004). Routine estimates of PBL height are useful for a wide range of research projects and therefore, it was proposed that a PBL height value added product (VAP) be developed for the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program. Numerous instruments (e.g., radiosonde, ceilometer, backscatter lidar, Doppler wind lidar, and sodar) and algorithms have been used for PBL height detection, each with their own strengths and weaknesses (Seibert et al. 2000). In order to speed development of a PBL height product, it was decided to take a phased approach to datamore » set development and begin with relatively simple and mature algorithms that can be applied to instruments available at all ARM sites before moving on to more sophisticated algorithms and/or instrumentation. In the first phase of the VAP development (described in this technical report), we describe the implementation of a PBL Height VAP for radiosonde measurements, which we refer to as the PBLHeightSonde VAP. Radiosonde measurements are one of the most common methods for determining PBL or mixing layer height. Often, experienced meteorologists manually estimate PBL height by examining profiles of potential temperature and moisture; however, several operational PBL height estimation methods have been developed (Seibert et al. 2000). As there is no “truth” to evaluate PBL height estimates and since the definition of PBL height is somewhat subjective, we implemented several different methods of estimating PBL or mixed layer height from radiosonde profiles. The differences between the estimates from the various methods can be considered a partial estimate of the uncertainty in the PBL height values.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [4];  [5];  [6]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. US Department of Energy (USDOE), Washington DC (United States)
  3. Battelle Pacific Northwest Labs., Richland, WA (United States)
  4. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  5. University of Maryland
  6. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
DOE Office of Science Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER). Earth and Environmental Systems Science Division
Contributing Org.:
University of Maryland
OSTI Identifier:
1808688
Report Number(s):
DOE/SC-ARM/TR-132
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC05-7601830
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Planetary boundary layer, radiosonde

Citation Formats

Sivaraman, Chitra, McFarlane, Sally, Chapman, E, Jensen, Michael, Toto, Liu, Shuyan, and Fischer, Marc. Planetary Boundary Layer Height (PBL) Value Added Product (VAP): Radiosonde Retrievals. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.2172/1808688.
Sivaraman, Chitra, McFarlane, Sally, Chapman, E, Jensen, Michael, Toto, Liu, Shuyan, & Fischer, Marc. Planetary Boundary Layer Height (PBL) Value Added Product (VAP): Radiosonde Retrievals. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1808688
Sivaraman, Chitra, McFarlane, Sally, Chapman, E, Jensen, Michael, Toto, Liu, Shuyan, and Fischer, Marc. 2013. "Planetary Boundary Layer Height (PBL) Value Added Product (VAP): Radiosonde Retrievals". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1808688. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1808688.
@article{osti_1808688,
title = {Planetary Boundary Layer Height (PBL) Value Added Product (VAP): Radiosonde Retrievals},
author = {Sivaraman, Chitra and McFarlane, Sally and Chapman, E and Jensen, Michael and Toto and Liu, Shuyan and Fischer, Marc},
abstractNote = {The planetary boundary layer (PBL) can be defined as “that part of the troposphere that is directly influenced by the presence of the earth’s surface…” (Stull 1988). The PBL height (or mixing layer depth) can vary significantly with time due to a number of factors including large-scale dynamics, cloudiness, convective mixing, and the diurnal cycle of solar radiation. The structure and depth of the PBL is important to a wide range of atmospheric processes, including cloud formation; aerosol mixing, transport, and transformation; and chemical mixing, transport, and transformation. Errors in the determination of the PBL height in models can significantly impact the formation and maintenance of low-level clouds (Zeng et al. 2004). Routine estimates of PBL height are useful for a wide range of research projects and therefore, it was proposed that a PBL height value added product (VAP) be developed for the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program. Numerous instruments (e.g., radiosonde, ceilometer, backscatter lidar, Doppler wind lidar, and sodar) and algorithms have been used for PBL height detection, each with their own strengths and weaknesses (Seibert et al. 2000). In order to speed development of a PBL height product, it was decided to take a phased approach to data set development and begin with relatively simple and mature algorithms that can be applied to instruments available at all ARM sites before moving on to more sophisticated algorithms and/or instrumentation. In the first phase of the VAP development (described in this technical report), we describe the implementation of a PBL Height VAP for radiosonde measurements, which we refer to as the PBLHeightSonde VAP. Radiosonde measurements are one of the most common methods for determining PBL or mixing layer height. Often, experienced meteorologists manually estimate PBL height by examining profiles of potential temperature and moisture; however, several operational PBL height estimation methods have been developed (Seibert et al. 2000). As there is no “truth” to evaluate PBL height estimates and since the definition of PBL height is somewhat subjective, we implemented several different methods of estimating PBL or mixed layer height from radiosonde profiles. The differences between the estimates from the various methods can be considered a partial estimate of the uncertainty in the PBL height values.},
doi = {10.2172/1808688},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1808688}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2013},
month = {8}
}