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Brian J. Carroll, Belay B. Demoz, David D. Turner, and Ruben Delgado

Abstract

The 2015 Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) field campaign provided a wealth of intensive observations for improving understanding of interplay between the Great Plains low-level jet (LLJ), mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), and other phenomena in the nocturnal boundary layer. This case study utilizes PECAN ground-based Doppler and water vapor lidar and airborne water vapor lidar observations for a detailed examination of water vapor transport in the Great Plains. The chosen case, 11 July 2015, featured a strong LLJ that helped sustain an MCS overnight. The lidars resolved boundary layer moisture being transported northward, leading to a large increase in water vapor in the lowest several hundred meters above the surface in northern Kansas. A branch of nocturnal convection initiated coincident with the observed maximum water vapor flux. Radiosondes confirmed an increase in convective potential within the LLJ layer. Moist static energy (MSE) growth was generated by increasing moisture in spite of a temperature decrease in the LLJ layer. This unique dataset is also used to evaluate the Rapid Refresh (RAP) analysis model performance, comparing model output against the continuous lidar profiles of water vapor and wind. While the RAP analysis captured the large-scale trends, errors in water vapor mixing ratio were found ranging from 0 to 2 g kg−1 at the ground-based lidar sites. Comparison with the airborne lidar throughout the PECAN domain yielded an RMSE of 1.14 g kg−1 in the planetary boundary layer. These errors mostly manifested as contiguous dry or wet regions spanning spatial scales on the order of ten to hundreds of kilometers.

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Timothy A. Bonin, Brian J. Carroll, R. Michael Hardesty, W. Alan Brewer, Kristian Hajny, Olivia E. Salmon, and Paul B. Shepson

Abstract

A Halo Photonics Stream Line XR Doppler lidar has been deployed for the Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX) to measure profiles of the mean horizontal wind and the mixing layer height for quantification of greenhouse gas emissions from the urban area. To measure the mixing layer height continuously and autonomously, a novel composite fuzzy logic approach has been developed that combines information from various scan types, including conical and vertical-slice scans and zenith stares, to determine a unified measurement of the mixing height and its uncertainty. The composite approach uses the strengths of each measurement strategy to overcome the limitations of others so that a complete representation of turbulent mixing is made in the lowest km, depending on clouds and aerosol distribution. Additionally, submeso nonturbulent motions are identified from zenith stares and removed from the analysis, as these motions can lead to an overestimate of the mixing height. The mixing height is compared with in situ profile measurements from a research aircraft for validation. To demonstrate the utility of the measurements, statistics of the mixing height and its diurnal and annual variability for 2016 are also presented. The annual cycle is clearly captured, with the largest and smallest afternoon mixing heights observed at the summer and winter solstices, respectively. The diurnal cycle of the mixing layer is affected by the mean wind, growing slower in the morning and decaying more rapidly in the evening with lighter winds.

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