Boundary layer structure and stability classification validated with CO2 concentrations over the Northern Spanish Plateau

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Pérez, I. A. ; Sánchez, M. L. ; García, M. Á. ; Torre, B. (2009)

A description of the lower boundary layer is vital to enhance our understanding of dispersion processes. In this paper, Radio Acoustic Sounding System sodar measurements obtained over three years were used to calculate the Brunt-Väisälä frequency and the Monin-Obukhov length. The Brunt-Väisälä frequency enabled investigation of the structure of this layer. At night, several layers were noticeable and the maximum was observed at the first level, 40 m, whereas during the day, it was present at about 320 m. The Monin-Obukhov length was calculated with the four first levels measured, 40–100 m, by an original iterative method and used to establish four stability classes: drainage, extremely stable, stable and unstable. Wind speed and temperature median profiles linked to these classes were also presented. Wind speeds were the lowest, but temperatures were the highest and inversions were intense at night in drainage situations. However, unstable situations were linked to high wind speeds and superadiabatic temperature profiles. Detrended CO<sub>2</sub> concentrations were used to determine the goodness of the classification proposed evidencing values which under drainage at night in spring were nearly 28 ppm higher than those corresponding to unstable situations. Finally, atmosphere structure was presented for the proposed stability classes and related with wind speed profiles. Under extremely stable situations, low level jets were coupled to the surface, with median wind speeds below 8 m s<sup>&minus;1</sup> and cores occasionally at 120 m. However, jets were uncoupled in stable situations, wind speed medians were higher than 11 m s<sup>&minus;1</sup> and their core heights were around 200 m.
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