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Gregory S. Poulos and Sean P. Burns

Abstract

High-rate near-surface overnight atmospheric data taken during the Cooperative Atmosphere–Surface Exchange Study-1999 (CASES-99) is used to quantify the representativeness of surface layer formulations under statically stable conditions. Combined with weak wind shear, such conditions generate large dynamic stability (Ri > 1.0), intermittency, and nonstationarity, which violate the underlying assumptions of surface layer theory. Still, such parameterizations are applied in atmospheric numerical models from large-eddy to global circulation.

To investigate two formulas, their parameterized sensible heat flux and friction velocity (u∗) values are compared, when driven by CASES-99 measurements, to CASES-99 measurements of the same from various heights. Significant inaccuracies in the magnitude and sign of flux are found with 1) a frequent, large underprediction of heat flux for Rib > ∼1.0, 2) an overprediction of negative sensible heat flux and u∗ for ∼0.2 < Rib < ∼0.8, 3) a systematic underprediction of u∗ for Rib > 1.0 for one of the schemes tested, and 4) a misrepresentation of natural heat and u∗ intermittency by both schemes for Ri > ∼1.0. Failures of the “constant flux assumption” for a given height are proposed as a partial source for the errors. Using experimental data, a surface layer of O[1–10] m is found during dynamically stable conditions. Rather than suggest a revised algebraic fit to the observations, an alternate approach to surface layer parameterization is proposed.

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Jielun Sun, Sean P. Burns, Anthony C. Delany, Steven P. Oncley, Thomas W. Horst, and Donald H. Lenschow

Abstract

A unique set of nocturnal longwave radiative and sensible heat flux divergences was obtained during the 1999 Cooperative Atmosphere–Surface Exchange Study (CASES-99). These divergences are based on upward and downward longwave radiation measurements at two levels and turbulent eddy correlation measurements at eight levels. In contrast to previous radiation divergence measurements obtained within 10 m above the ground, radiative flux divergence was measured within a deeper layer—between 2 and 48 m. Within the layer, the radiative flux divergence is, on average, comparable to or smaller than the sensible heat flux divergence. The horizontal and vertical temperature advection, derived as the residual in the heat balance using observed sensible heat and radiative fluxes, are found to be significant terms in the heat balance at night. The observations also indicate that the radiative flux divergence between 2 and 48 m was typically largest in the early evening. Its magnitude depends on how fast the ground cools and on how large the vertical temperature gradient is within the layer. A radiative flux difference of more than 10 W m−2 over 46 m of height was observed under weak-wind and clear-sky conditions after hot days. Wind speed variation can change not only the sensible heat transfer but also the surface longwave radiation because of variations of the area exposure of the warmer grass stems and soil surfaces versus the cooler grass blade tips, leading to fluctuations of the radiative flux divergence throughout the night.

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Sean P. Burns, Anthony C. Delany, Jielun Sun, Britton B. Stephens, Steven P. Oncley, Gordon D. Maclean, Steven R. Semmer, Joel Schröter, and Johannes Ruppert

Abstract

The construction and deployment of a portable trace-gas measurement system (TGaMS) is described. The air-collection system (dubbed HYDRA) collects air samples from 18 different locations and was connected to either one or two LI-COR LI-7000 gas analyzers to measure CO2. An in situ “field calibration” method, that uses four calibration gases with an uncertainty on the order of ±0.1 μmol mol−1 relative to the WMO CO2 mole fraction scale, revealed CO2 output from the LI-7000 had a slightly nonlinear relationship relative to the CO2 concentration of the calibration gases. The sensitivity of the field-calibrated CO2 to different forms of the field-calibration equation is investigated. To evaluate TGaMS performance, CO2 from collocated inlets, portable gas cylinders, and nearby independent CO2 instruments are compared. Results are as follows: 1) CO2 measurements from HYDRA multiple inlets are feasible with a reproducibility of ±0.4 μmol mol−1 (based on the standard deviation of the CO2 difference between collocated inlets when HYDRA was operating with two LI-7000s); 2) CO2 differences among the various field-calibration equations were on the order of ±0.3 μmol mol−1; and 3) comparison of midday hourly CO2 measurements at 30 m AGL between TGaMS and an independent high-accuracy CO2 measurement system (within 300 m of TGaMS) had a median difference and standard deviation of 0.04 ± 0.81 μmol mol−1 over two months.

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Sean P. Burns, Noah P. Molotch, Mark W. Williams, John F. Knowles, Brian Seok, Russell K. Monson, Andrew A. Turnipseed, and Peter D. Blanken

Abstract

Snowpack temperatures from a subalpine forest below Niwot Ridge, Colorado, are examined with respect to atmospheric conditions and the 30-min above-canopy and subcanopy eddy covariance fluxes of sensible Q h and latent Q e heat. In the lower snowpack, daily snow temperature changes greater than 1°C day−1 occurred about 1–2 times in late winter and early spring, which resulted in transitions to and from an isothermal snowpack. Though air temperature was a primary control on snowpack temperature, rapid snowpack warm-up events were sometimes preceded by strong downslope winds that kept the nighttime air (and canopy) temperature above freezing, thus increasing sensible heat and longwave radiative transfer from the canopy to the snowpack. There was an indication that water vapor condensation on the snow surface intensified the snowpack warm-up.

In late winter, subcanopy Q h was typically between −10 and 10 W m−2 and rarely had a magnitude larger than 20 W m−2. The direction of subcanopy Q h was closely related to the canopy temperature and only weakly dependent on the time of day. The daytime subcanopy Q h monthly frequency distribution was near normal, whereas the nighttime distribution was more peaked near zero with a large positive skewness. In contrast, above-canopy Q h was larger in magnitude (100–400 W m−2) and primarily warmed the forest–surface at night and cooled it during the day. Around midday, decoupling of subcanopy and above-canopy air led to an apparent cooling of the snow surface by sensible heat. Sources of uncertainty in the subcanopy eddy covariance flux measurements are suggested. Implications of the observed snowpack temperature changes for future climates are discussed.

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Gregory S. Poulos, William Blumen, David C. Fritts, Julie K. Lundquist, Jielun Sun, Sean P. Burns, Carmen Nappo, Robert Banta, Rob Newsom, Joan Cuxart, Enric Terradellas, Ben Balsley, and Michael Jensen

The Cooperative Atmosphere–Surface Exchange Study—1999 (CASES-99) refers to a field experiment carried out in southeast Kansas during October 1999 and the subsequent program of investigation. Comprehensive data, primarily taken during the nighttime but typically including the evening and morning transition, supports data analyses, theoretical studies, and state-of-the-art numerical modeling in a concerted effort by participants to investigate four areas of scientific interest. The choice of these scientific topics is motivated by both the need to delineate physical processes that characterize the stable boundary layer, which are as yet not clearly understood, and the specific scientific goals of the investigators. Each of the scientific goals should be largely achievable with the measurements taken, as is shown with preliminary analysis within the scope of three of the four scientific goals. Underlying this effort is the fundamental motivation to eliminate deficiencies in surface layer and turbulent diffusion parameterizations in atmospheric models, particularly where the Richardson number exceeds 0.25. This extensive nocturnal boundary layer (NBL) dataset is available to the scientific community at large, and the CASES-99 participants encourage all interested parties to utilize it.

These preliminary analyses show that during nights where weak (< 2 m s−1) surface winds and strong static stability near the surface (exceeding 150 C km−1 to 20 m AGL) might otherwise indicate essentially nonturbulent conditions, that various, sometimes undefined, atmospheric phenomena can generate significant turbulent mixing, and therefore significant turbulent fluxes. In many cases, a jet structure will form in the NBL between 50 and 200 m AGL, resulting in strong shear between the surface and jet maximum. Consequently, though surface winds are weak, turbulence can be a significant feature in the stable NBL. Further, contrary to some previous work studying nocturnal jets over the Great Plains, the wind direction in the jet is often influenced by an inertial oscillation and seldom confined to the southerly quadrant (e.g., the Great Plains low-level jet).

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Jielun Sun, Steven P. Oncley, Sean P. Burns, Britton B. Stephens, Donald H. Lenschow, Teresa Campos, Russell K. Monson, David S. Schimel, William J. Sacks, Stephan F. J. De Wekker, Chun-Ta Lai, Brian Lamb, Dennis Ojima, Patrick Z. Ellsworth, Leonel S. L. Sternberg, Sharon Zhong, Craig Clements, David J. P. Moore, Dean E. Anderson, Andrew S. Watt, Jia Hu, Mark Tschudi, Steven Aulenbach, Eugene Allwine, and Teresa Coons

A significant fraction of Earth consists of mountainous terrain. However, the question of how to monitor the surface–atmosphere carbon exchange over complex terrain has not been fully explored. This article reports on studies by a team of investigators from U.S. universities and research institutes who carried out a multiscale and multidisciplinary field and modeling investigation of the CO2 exchange between ecosystems and the atmosphere and of CO2 transport over complex mountainous terrain in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado. The goals of the field campaign, which included ground and airborne in situ and remote-sensing measurements, were to characterize unique features of the local CO2 exchange and to find effective methods to measure regional ecosystem–atmosphere CO2 exchange over complex terrain. The modeling effort included atmospheric and ecological numerical modeling and data assimilation to investigate regional CO2 transport and biological processes involved in ecosystem–atmosphere carbon exchange. In this report, we document our approaches, demonstrate some preliminary results, and discuss principal patterns and conclusions concerning ecosystem–atmosphere carbon exchange over complex terrain and its relation to past studies that have considered these processes over much simpler terrain.

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Edward G. Patton, Thomas W. Horst, Peter P. Sullivan, Donald H. Lenschow, Steven P. Oncley, William O. J. Brown, Sean P. Burns, Alex B. Guenther, Andreas Held, Thomas Karl, Shane D. Mayor, Luciana V. Rizzo, Scott M. Spuler, Jielun Sun, Andrew A. Turnipseed, Eugene J. Allwine, Steven L. Edburg, Brian K. Lamb, Roni Avissar, Ronald J. Calhoun, Jan Kleissl, William J. Massman, Kyaw Tha Paw U, and Jeffrey C. Weil

The Canopy Horizontal Array Turbulence Study (CHATS) took place in spring 2007 and is the third in the series of Horizontal Array Turbulence Study (HATS) experiments. The HATS experiments have been instrumental in testing and developing subfilterscale (SFS) models for large-eddy simulation (LES) of planetary boundary layer (PBL) turbulence. The CHATS campaign took place in a deciduous walnut orchard near Dixon, California, and was designed to examine the impacts of vegetation on SFS turbulence. Measurements were collected both prior to and following leafout to capture the impact of leaves on the turbulence, stratification, and scalar source/sink distribution. CHATS utilized crosswind arrays of fast-response instrumentation to investigate the impact of the canopy-imposed distribution of momentum extraction and scalar sources on SFS transport of momentum, energy, and three scalars. To directly test and link with PBL parameterizations of canopy-modified turbulent exchange, CHATS also included a 30-m profile tower instrumented with turbulence instrumentation, fast and slow chemical sensors, aerosol samplers, and radiation instrumentation. A highresolution scanning backscatter lidar characterized the turbulence structure above and within the canopy; a scanning Doppler lidar, mini sodar/radio acoustic sounding system (RASS), and a new helicopter-observing platform provided details of the PBL-scale flow. Ultimately, the CHATS dataset will lead to improved parameterizations of energy and scalar transport to and from vegetation, which are a critical component of global and regional land, atmosphere, and chemical models. This manuscript presents an overview of the experiment, documents the regime sampled, and highlights some preliminary key findings.

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