Evolution of the Subtropical Marine Boundary Layer: Comparison of Soundings over the Eastern Pacific from FIRE and HaRP

I. R. Paluch National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by I. R. Paluch in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
D. H. Lenschow National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by D. H. Lenschow in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
S. Siems National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by S. Siems in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
G. L. Kok National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by G. L. Kok in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
R. D. Schillawski National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by R. D. Schillawski in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
S. McKeen National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by S. McKeen in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

The mean time rates of change of temperature, total water mixing ratio and ozone along airflow trajectories in the lower troposphere over the eastern Pacific are inferred by comparing aircraft soundings from the First ISCCP Regional Experiment (FIRE) and the Hawaiian Rainband Project (HaRP). Through the use of the estimated mean fluxes of temperature and total water mixing ratio, it is found that the tendency for stratus layers to grow or dissipate is very sensitive to the assumed turbulence structure below the capping inversion. A mixed-layer model that assumes a well-mixed boundary layer up to the capping inversion predicts a solid cloud layer extending all the way to Hawaii, whereas a model that allows decoupling predicts rapid dissipation of the stratus layer. It is concluded that stratus dissipation here is due to the slowdown of turbulent mixing throughout the layer below the capping inversion, not the drying out of a well-mixed layer; hence, the mixed-layer model cannot be expected to predict realistic cloud dissipation. The differences in ozone concentration observed in the boundary layer during HaRP and FIRE suggest a chemical loss of ozone of 3–8ppb day−1, corresponding to a lifetime of 3–9 days. This implies that ozone cannot be treated as a conserved tracer when dealing with ozone budgets over periods of days. The ozone sink is probably of photochemical origin, and it requires further investigation.

Abstract

The mean time rates of change of temperature, total water mixing ratio and ozone along airflow trajectories in the lower troposphere over the eastern Pacific are inferred by comparing aircraft soundings from the First ISCCP Regional Experiment (FIRE) and the Hawaiian Rainband Project (HaRP). Through the use of the estimated mean fluxes of temperature and total water mixing ratio, it is found that the tendency for stratus layers to grow or dissipate is very sensitive to the assumed turbulence structure below the capping inversion. A mixed-layer model that assumes a well-mixed boundary layer up to the capping inversion predicts a solid cloud layer extending all the way to Hawaii, whereas a model that allows decoupling predicts rapid dissipation of the stratus layer. It is concluded that stratus dissipation here is due to the slowdown of turbulent mixing throughout the layer below the capping inversion, not the drying out of a well-mixed layer; hence, the mixed-layer model cannot be expected to predict realistic cloud dissipation. The differences in ozone concentration observed in the boundary layer during HaRP and FIRE suggest a chemical loss of ozone of 3–8ppb day−1, corresponding to a lifetime of 3–9 days. This implies that ozone cannot be treated as a conserved tracer when dealing with ozone budgets over periods of days. The ozone sink is probably of photochemical origin, and it requires further investigation.

Save