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Michael Tjernström, Caroline Leck, P. Ola G. Persson, Michael L. Jensen, Steven P. Oncley, and Admir Targino

An atmospheric boundary layer experiment into the high Arctic was carried out on the Swedish icebreaker Oden during the summer of 2001, with the primary boundary layer observations obtained while the icebreaker drifted with the ice near 89°N during 3 weeks in August. The purposes of the experiment were to gain an understanding of atmospheric boundary layer structure and transient mixing mechanisms, in addition to their relationships to boundary layer clouds and aerosol production. Using a combination of in situ and remote sensing instruments, with temporal and spatial resolutions previously not deployed in the Arctic, continuous measurements of the lower-troposphere structure and boundary layer turbulence were taken concurrently with atmospheric gas and particulate chemistry, and marine biology measurements.

The boundary layer was strongly controlled by ice thermodynamics and local turbulent mixing. Near-surface temperatures mostly remained between near the melting points of the sea- and freshwater, and near-surface relative humidity was high. Low clouds prevailed and fog appeared frequently. Visibility outside of fog was surprisingly good even with very low clouds, probably due to a lack of aerosol particles preventing the formation of haze. The boundary layer was shallow but remained well mixed, capped by an occasionally very strong inversion. Specific humidity often increased with height across the capping inversion.

In contrast to the boundary layer, the free troposphere often retained its characteristics from well beyond the Arctic. Elevated intrusions of warm, moist air from open seas to the south were frequent. The picture that the Arctic atmosphere is less affected by transport from lower latitudes in summer than the winter may, thus, be an artifact of analyzing only surface measurements. The transport of air from lower latitudes at heights above the boundary layer has a major impact on the Arctic boundary layer, even very close to the North Pole. During a few week-long periods synoptic-scale weather systems appeared, while weaker and shallower mesoscale fronts were frequent. While frontal passages changed the properties of the free troposphere, changes in the boundary layer were more determined by local effects that often led to changes contrary to those aloft. For example, increasing winds associated with a cold front often led to a warming of the near-surface air by mixing and entrapment.

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Michael Tjernström, Caroline Leck, P. Ola G. Persson, Michael L. Jensen, Steven P. Oncley, and Admir Targino
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