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Mark A. Miller
,
Michael P. Jensen
, and
Eugene E. Clothiaux

Abstract

Radiosonde, in situ, and surface-based remote sensor data from the Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment are used to study the diurnal cycle of cloud and thermodynamic structure. A cloud layer and decoupled subcloud layer separated by a stable transition layer, often observed in the vicinity of cumulus cloud base, characterizes the thermodynamic structure during the study period. The mode of cloud structure is cumulus with bases below decoupled stratus. Data are presented that support the hypothesis that diurnal variations in cumulus development are modulated by the stability in the transition layer.

The frequency of cumulus convection decreases during the afternoon, but mesoscale regions of vigorous cumulus with cloud tops overshooting the base of the trade inversion and increased surface drizzle rates are present during the late afternoon and early evening, when the transition layer is the most stable. It is postulated that mesoscale organization may be required to accumulate enough water vapor in the subcloud layer to produce the convective available potential energy needed for developing cumulus to overcome transition layer stability. The mesoscale regions appear to fit the description of cyclic cumulus convection proposed in a previous study, and this theory is expanded to account for diurnal variations in the stability of the transition layer. The occurrence of these mesoscale clusters of vigorous convection makes it difficult to determine if the latent heat flux in the cloud layer has actually decreased in the late afternoon and early evening, when the transition layer is the most stable.

Liquid water structure was examined and no pronounced diurnal signal was found. Results showed that clouds thicker than approximately 450 m tended to have subadiabatic integrated liquid water contents, presumably due to evaporation of drizzle in the subcloud layer, removal of liquid water at the surface, and the evaporation of cloud water at cloud top. A significant fraction of clouds less than 450 m thick produced liquid water contents that were greater than adiabatic, and there may be a physical mechanism that could produce such values in this cloud system (i.e., lateral detrainment of cloud water from convective elements mixing with existing liquid water in decoupled stratus or with liquid water detrained by nearby convective elements). Unfortunately, instrument limitations may have also produced these greater-than-adiabatic values and the extent of instrument artifacts in these results is unclear.

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Virendra P. Ghate
,
Mark A. Miller
,
Bruce A. Albrecht
, and
Christopher W. Fairall

Abstract

Stratocumulus-topped boundary layers (STBLs) observed in three different regions are described in the context of their thermodynamic and radiative properties. The primary dataset consists of 131 soundings from the southeastern Pacific (SEP), 90 soundings from the island of Graciosa (GRW) in the North Atlantic, and 83 soundings from the U.S. Southern Great Plains (SGP). A new technique that makes an attempt to preserve the depths of the sublayers within an STBL is proposed for averaging the profiles of thermodynamic and radiative variables. A one-dimensional radiative transfer model known as the Rapid Radiative Transfer Model was used to compute the radiative fluxes within the STBL. The SEP STBLs were characterized by a stronger and deeper inversion, together with thicker clouds, lower free-tropospheric moisture, and higher radiative flux divergence across the cloud layer, as compared to the GRW STBLs. Compared to the STBLs over the marine locations, the STBLs over SGP had higher wind shear and a negligible (−0.41 g kg−1) jump in mixing ratio across the inversion. Despite the differences in many of the STBL thermodynamic parameters, the differences in liquid water path at the three locations were statistically insignificant. The soundings were further classified as well mixed or decoupled based on the difference between the surface and cloud-base virtual potential temperature. The decoupled STBLs were deeper than the well-mixed STBLs at all three locations. Statistically insignificant differences in surface latent heat flux (LHF) between well-mixed and decoupled STBLs suggest that parameters other than LHF are responsible for producing decoupling.

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S. Kondragunta
,
L. E. Flynn
,
A. Neuendorffer
,
A. J. Miller
,
C. Long
,
R. Nagatani
,
S. Zhou
,
T. Beck
,
E. Beach
,
R. McPeters
,
R. Stolarski
,
P. K. Bhartia
,
M. T. DeLand
, and
L.-K. Huang

Abstract

Ozone estimates from observations by the NOAA-16 Solar Backscattered Ultraviolet (SBUV/2) instrument and Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS-N) Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) are used to describe the vertical structure of ozone in the anomalous 2002 polar vortex. The SBUV/2 total ozone maps show that the ozone hole was pushed off the Pole and split into two halves due to a split in the midstratospheric polar vortex in late September. The vortex split and the associated transport of high ozone from midlatitudes to the polar region reduced the ozone hole area from 18 × 106 km2 on 20 September to 3 × 106 km2 on 27 September 2002. A 23-yr time series of SBUV/2 daily zonal mean total ozone amounts between 70° and 80°S shows record high values [385 Dobson units (DU)] during the late-September 2002 warming event. The transport and descent of high ozone from low latitudes to high latitudes between 60 and 15 mb contributed to the unusual increase in total column ozone and a small ozone hole estimated using the standard criterion (area with total ozone < 220 DU). In contrast, TOVS observations show an ozone-depleted region between 0 and 24 km, indicating that ozone destruction was present in the elongated but unsplit vortex in the lower stratosphere. During the warming event, the low-ozone regions in the middle and upper stratosphere were not vertically aligned with the low-ozone regions in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. This offset in the vertical distribution of ozone resulted in higher total column ozone masking the ozone depletion in the lower stratosphere and resulting in a smaller ozone hole size estimate from satellite total ozone data.

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Philip A. Feiner
,
William H. Brune
,
David O. Miller
,
Li Zhang
,
Ronald C. Cohen
,
Paul S. Romer
,
Allen H. Goldstein
,
Frank N. Keutsch
,
Kate M. Skog
,
Paul O. Wennberg
,
Tran B. Nguyen
,
Alex P. Teng
,
Joost DeGouw
,
Abigail Koss
,
Robert J. Wild
,
Steven S. Brown
,
Alex Guenther
,
Eric Edgerton
,
Karsten Baumann
, and
Juliane L. Fry

Abstract

The chemical species emitted by forests create complex atmospheric oxidation chemistry and influence global atmospheric oxidation capacity and climate. The Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS) provided an opportunity to test the oxidation chemistry in a forest where isoprene is the dominant biogenic volatile organic compound. Hydroxyl (OH) and hydroperoxyl (HO2) radicals were two of the hundreds of atmospheric chemical species measured, as was OH reactivity (the inverse of the OH lifetime). OH was measured by laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) and by taking the difference in signals without and with an OH scavenger that was added just outside the instrument’s pinhole inlet. To test whether the chemistry at SOAS can be simulated by current model mechanisms, OH and HO2 were evaluated with a box model using two chemical mechanisms: Master Chemical Mechanism, version 3.2 (MCMv3.2), augmented with explicit isoprene chemistry and MCMv3.3.1. Measured and modeled OH peak at about 106 cm−3 and agree well within combined uncertainties. Measured and modeled HO2 peak at about 27 pptv and also agree well within combined uncertainties. Median OH reactivity cycled between about 11 s−1 at dawn and about 26 s−1 during midafternoon. A good test of the oxidation chemistry is the balance between OH production and loss rates using measurements; this balance was observed to within uncertainties. These SOAS results provide strong evidence that the current isoprene mechanisms are consistent with measured OH and HO2 and, thus, capture significant aspects of the atmospheric oxidation chemistry in this isoprene-rich forest.

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