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Hudson Valley Fog Environments

David R. FitzjarraldAtmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York, Albany, New York

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G. Garland LalaAtmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York, Albany, New York

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Abstract

Observations of 14 cases of radiation fog in the Hudson River valley in New York State are presented. Our emphasis is to connect the fog prediction problem to mechanisms in the nocturnal boundary layer that influence heat and moisture balances. Surface layer and boundary layer fogs are distinguished by the difference in dominant terms in the saturation specific humidity deficit budget. Fogs that persist longer than approximately 30 minutes are most frequently thicker than 50 m. The ultimate depth to which the fog grows is shown to be determined by initial conditions at sunset and by subsequent evolution of winds in the nocturnal boundary layer, as well as by surface transports and radiative cooling. Estimates of the surface and boundary layer heat budget are presented. Two new phenomena are identified: 1) A jump in specific humidity occurring during the early evening transition that shortens the time required to reach surface layer saturation; and 2) along-valley jetlike winds with maxima near 100 m altitude are shown to be frequent and their occurrence is associated with a threshold value of the along-valley surface pressure gradient. Such jets appear to have an important influence on deep fog, increasing or decreasing its likelihood depending on the sign of heat and moisture advection they associate with.

Abstract

Observations of 14 cases of radiation fog in the Hudson River valley in New York State are presented. Our emphasis is to connect the fog prediction problem to mechanisms in the nocturnal boundary layer that influence heat and moisture balances. Surface layer and boundary layer fogs are distinguished by the difference in dominant terms in the saturation specific humidity deficit budget. Fogs that persist longer than approximately 30 minutes are most frequently thicker than 50 m. The ultimate depth to which the fog grows is shown to be determined by initial conditions at sunset and by subsequent evolution of winds in the nocturnal boundary layer, as well as by surface transports and radiative cooling. Estimates of the surface and boundary layer heat budget are presented. Two new phenomena are identified: 1) A jump in specific humidity occurring during the early evening transition that shortens the time required to reach surface layer saturation; and 2) along-valley jetlike winds with maxima near 100 m altitude are shown to be frequent and their occurrence is associated with a threshold value of the along-valley surface pressure gradient. Such jets appear to have an important influence on deep fog, increasing or decreasing its likelihood depending on the sign of heat and moisture advection they associate with.

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