Monitoring of the Atmospheric Stability above an Urban and Suburban Site Using Sodar and Radon Measurements

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  • 1 Laboratoire de Physique des Aérosols et Echanges Atmosphériques, ERA No. 378, Université Paul Sabatier, 31077 Toulouse Cedex, France
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Abstract

This study presents a method of obtaining the quantitative intensity of vertical diffusion during periods of atmospheric stability. This method associates the continuous measurement of radon concentration at ground level and the use of a monostatic sodar. The value of “equivalent mixing height” he is calculated using the radon variation which can be related to the global exchange coefficient of the inversion layer. The sodar detects the thickness of the nocturnal inversion layer.

Both systems operated simultaneously over several months at two sites (urban and suburban). In most cases the nocturnal layer was indicated both by sodar echoes and by a large decrease of the he value. In other cases the use of sodar alone can lead to a lack of detection of stable periods which, nevertheless, are shown clearly by radon. The comparison of measurement at two sites shows a modification of nocturnal stability above the urban site. The equivalent exchange coefficients are ∼0.3 m2 s−1 (at the urban site) and 0.08 m2 s−1 (at the suburban site).

Abstract

This study presents a method of obtaining the quantitative intensity of vertical diffusion during periods of atmospheric stability. This method associates the continuous measurement of radon concentration at ground level and the use of a monostatic sodar. The value of “equivalent mixing height” he is calculated using the radon variation which can be related to the global exchange coefficient of the inversion layer. The sodar detects the thickness of the nocturnal inversion layer.

Both systems operated simultaneously over several months at two sites (urban and suburban). In most cases the nocturnal layer was indicated both by sodar echoes and by a large decrease of the he value. In other cases the use of sodar alone can lead to a lack of detection of stable periods which, nevertheless, are shown clearly by radon. The comparison of measurement at two sites shows a modification of nocturnal stability above the urban site. The equivalent exchange coefficients are ∼0.3 m2 s−1 (at the urban site) and 0.08 m2 s−1 (at the suburban site).

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