Capsule summary

Combining ground-based micrometeorological instrumentation with boundary layer remote sensing and unmanned aircraft systems for high-resolution observations on the stable boundary layer over sea ice and corresponding modelling experiments.

Abstract

The Innovative Strategies for Observations in the Arctic Atmospheric Boundary Layer Program (ISOBAR) is a research project investigating stable atmospheric boundary layer (SBL) processes, whose representation still poses significant challenges in state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. In ISOBAR ground-based flux and profile observations are combined with boundary-layer remote sensing methods and the extensive usage of different unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). During February 2017 and 2018 we carried out two major field campaigns over the sea ice of the northern Baltic Sea, close to the Finnish island of Hailuoto at 65 °N. In total 14 intensive observational periods (IOPs) resulted in extensive SBL datasets with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution, which will form the basis for various numerical modeling experiments. First results from the campaigns indicate numerous very stable boundary layer (VSBL) cases, characterized by strong stratification, weak winds, and clear skies, and give detailed insight in the temporal evolution and vertical structure of the entire SBL. The SBL is subject to rapid changes in its vertical structure, responding to a variety of different processes. In particular, we study cases involving a shear instability associated with a low-level jet, a rapid strong cooling event observed a few meters above ground, and a strong wave-breaking event that triggers intensive near-surface turbulence. Furthermore, we use observations from one IOP to validate three different atmospheric models. The unique fine-scale observations resulting from the ISOBAR observational approach will aid future research activities, focusing on a better understanding of the SBL and its implementation in numerical models.

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