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Arctic Summer Airmass Transformation, Surface Inversions, and the Surface Energy Budget

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  • 1 Department of Meteorology, and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • | 2 National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Mesoscale and Microscale Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 3 NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 4 Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 5 School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • | 6 Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
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Abstract

During the Arctic Clouds in Summer Experiment (ACSE) in summer 2014 a weeklong period of warm-air advection over melting sea ice, with the formation of a strong surface temperature inversion and dense fog, was observed. Based on an analysis of the surface energy budget, we formulated the hypothesis that, because of the airmass transformation, additional surface heating occurs during warm-air intrusions in a zone near the ice edge. To test this hypothesis, we explore all cases with surface inversions occurring during ACSE and then characterize the inversions in detail. We find that they always occur with advection from the south and are associated with subsidence. Analyzing only inversion cases over sea ice, we find two categories: one with increasing moisture in the inversion and one with constant or decreasing moisture with height. During surface inversions with increasing moisture with height, an extra 10–25 W m−2 of surface heating was observed, compared to cases without surface inversions; the surface turbulent heat flux was the largest single term. Cases with less moisture in the inversion were often cloud free and the extra solar radiation plus the turbulent surface heat flux caused by the inversion was roughly balanced by the loss of net longwave radiation.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Michael Tjernström, michaelt@misu.su.se

Abstract

During the Arctic Clouds in Summer Experiment (ACSE) in summer 2014 a weeklong period of warm-air advection over melting sea ice, with the formation of a strong surface temperature inversion and dense fog, was observed. Based on an analysis of the surface energy budget, we formulated the hypothesis that, because of the airmass transformation, additional surface heating occurs during warm-air intrusions in a zone near the ice edge. To test this hypothesis, we explore all cases with surface inversions occurring during ACSE and then characterize the inversions in detail. We find that they always occur with advection from the south and are associated with subsidence. Analyzing only inversion cases over sea ice, we find two categories: one with increasing moisture in the inversion and one with constant or decreasing moisture with height. During surface inversions with increasing moisture with height, an extra 10–25 W m−2 of surface heating was observed, compared to cases without surface inversions; the surface turbulent heat flux was the largest single term. Cases with less moisture in the inversion were often cloud free and the extra solar radiation plus the turbulent surface heat flux caused by the inversion was roughly balanced by the loss of net longwave radiation.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Michael Tjernström, michaelt@misu.su.se
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