Evaluation of Boundary Layer Depth Estimates at Summit Station, Greenland

B. Van Dam Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

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D. Helmig Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

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W. Neff Physical Sciences Division, NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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L. Kramer Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan

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Abstract

Boundary layer conditions in polar regions have been shown to have a significant impact on the levels of trace gases in the lower atmosphere. The ability to properly describe boundary layer characteristics (e.g., stability, depth, and variations on diurnal and seasonal scales) is essential to understanding the processes that control chemical budgets and surface fluxes in these regions. Surface turbulence data measured from 3D sonic anemometers on an 8-m tower at Summit Station, Greenland, were used for estimating boundary layer depths (BLD) in stable to weakly stable conditions. The turbulence-derived BLD estimates were evaluated for June 2010 using direct BLD measurements from an acoustic sounder located approximately 50 m away from the tower. BLDs during this period varied diurnally; minimum values were less than 10 m, and maximum values were greater than 150 m. BLD estimates provided a better comparison with sodar observations during stable conditions. Ozone and nitrogen oxides were also measured at the meteorological tower and investigated for their dependency on boundary layer structure. These analyses, in contrast to observations from South Pole, Antarctica, did not show a clear relation between surface-layer atmospheric trace-gas levels and the stable boundary layer.

Corresponding author address: D. Helmig, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Campus Box 450, Boulder, CO 80309-0450. E-mail: detlev.helmig@colorado.edu

This article is included in the ISARS 2012 special collection.

Abstract

Boundary layer conditions in polar regions have been shown to have a significant impact on the levels of trace gases in the lower atmosphere. The ability to properly describe boundary layer characteristics (e.g., stability, depth, and variations on diurnal and seasonal scales) is essential to understanding the processes that control chemical budgets and surface fluxes in these regions. Surface turbulence data measured from 3D sonic anemometers on an 8-m tower at Summit Station, Greenland, were used for estimating boundary layer depths (BLD) in stable to weakly stable conditions. The turbulence-derived BLD estimates were evaluated for June 2010 using direct BLD measurements from an acoustic sounder located approximately 50 m away from the tower. BLDs during this period varied diurnally; minimum values were less than 10 m, and maximum values were greater than 150 m. BLD estimates provided a better comparison with sodar observations during stable conditions. Ozone and nitrogen oxides were also measured at the meteorological tower and investigated for their dependency on boundary layer structure. These analyses, in contrast to observations from South Pole, Antarctica, did not show a clear relation between surface-layer atmospheric trace-gas levels and the stable boundary layer.

Corresponding author address: D. Helmig, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Campus Box 450, Boulder, CO 80309-0450. E-mail: detlev.helmig@colorado.edu

This article is included in the ISARS 2012 special collection.

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