Measuring the Effects of Surface Features on the Atmospheric Boundary Layer with Instrumented Aircraft

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  • a Inland Waters Directorate, Environment Canada, Calgary, Alberta
  • | b U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Science and Education Administration, Federal Research, Kimberly, ID 83441
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Abstract

The influence of mesoscale features (e.g., irrigation projects, desert regions, patches of forest, cities, etc.) on the atmosphere is difficult to determine unless the sensors are very numerous or highly mobile. An instrumented aircraft system permits such measurements and was used to determine the influence of lakes and reservoirs, irrigation, a group of forested hills, a small city, and an area of (dry land) nonirrigated agricultural land on the vertical and horizontal characteristics of the lowest layer of the atmosphere. Studies were conducted over portions of southern Alberta, and southern Idaho. Strong sensible heat advection was found to cause high evaporation from a small lake with the formation of a cool air layer which extended well beyond the lee side of the lake. The flux of water vapor over irrigated land was essentially double that over surrounding nonirrigated areas. A small city produced a heat island which delayed development of a temperature inversion for up to 9 h.

Abstract

The influence of mesoscale features (e.g., irrigation projects, desert regions, patches of forest, cities, etc.) on the atmosphere is difficult to determine unless the sensors are very numerous or highly mobile. An instrumented aircraft system permits such measurements and was used to determine the influence of lakes and reservoirs, irrigation, a group of forested hills, a small city, and an area of (dry land) nonirrigated agricultural land on the vertical and horizontal characteristics of the lowest layer of the atmosphere. Studies were conducted over portions of southern Alberta, and southern Idaho. Strong sensible heat advection was found to cause high evaporation from a small lake with the formation of a cool air layer which extended well beyond the lee side of the lake. The flux of water vapor over irrigated land was essentially double that over surrounding nonirrigated areas. A small city produced a heat island which delayed development of a temperature inversion for up to 9 h.

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