High-Resolution In Situ Profiling through the Stable Boundary Layer: Examination of the SBL Top in Terms of Minimum Shear, Maximum Stratification, and Turbulence Decrease

B. B. Balsley, R. G. Frehlich, M. L. Jensen, Y. Meillier
2006 Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences  
Some 50 separate high-resolution profiles of small-scale turbulence defined by the energy dissipation rate (), horizontal wind speed, and temperature from near the surface, through the nighttime stable boundary layer (SBL), and well into the residual layer are used to compare the various definitions of SBL height during nighttime stable conditions. These profiles were obtained during postmidnight periods on three separate nights using the Tethered Lifting System (TLS) during the Cooperative
more » ... the Cooperative Atmosphere-Surface Exchange Study (CASES-99) campaign in east-central Kansas, October 1999. Although the number of profiles is insufficient to make any definitive conclusions, the results suggest that, under most conditions, the boundary layer top can be reasonably estimated in terms of a very significant decrease in the energy dissipation rate (i.e., the mixing height) with height. In the majority of instances this height lies slightly below the height of a pronounced minimum in wind shear and slightly above a maximum in N 2 , where N is the Brunt-Väisälä frequency. When combined with flux measurements and vertical velocity variance data obtained from the nearby 55-m tower, the results provide additional insights into SBL processes, even when the boundary layer, by any definition, extends to heights well above the top of the tower. Both the TLS profiles and tower data are then used for preliminary high-resolution studies into various categories of SBL structure, including the so-called upside-down boundary layer.
doi:10.1175/jas3671.1 fatcat:isupefppszgwdkregd3gc7zgse