, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 313-331
Date: 01 Mar 2010

Frequency of Boundary-Layer-Top Fluctuations in Convective and Stable Conditions Using Laser Remote Sensing

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Abstract

The planetary boundary-layer (PBL) height is determined with high temporal and altitude resolution from lidar backscatter profiles. Then, the frequencies of daytime thermal updrafts and downdrafts and of nighttime gravity waves are obtained applying a fast Fourier transform on the temporal fluctuation of the PBL height. The principal frequency components of each spectrum are related to the dominant processes occurring at the daytime and nighttime PBL top. Two groups of cases are selected for the study: one group combines daytime cases, measured in weak horizontal wind conditions and dominated by convection. The cases show higher updraft and downdraft frequencies for the shallow, convective boundary layer and lower frequencies for a deep PBL. For cases characterized by strong horizontal winds, the frequencies directly depend on the wind speed. The temporal variation of the PBL height is determined also in the likely presence of lee waves. For nighttime cases, the main frequency components in the spectra do not show a real correlation with the nocturnal PBL height. Altitude fluctuations of the top of the nocturnal boundary layer are observed even though the boundary layer is statically stable. These oscillations are associated with the wind shear effect and with buoyancy waves at the PBL top.

Giovanni Martucci and Renaud Matthey—formerly at Observatory of Neuchâtel, Rue de l’Observatoire 58, CH-2002, Neuchâtel, Switzerland.