Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 113, Issue 2, pp 249-271

First online:

A Comparison Of Aerosol-Layer And Convective Boundary-Layer Structure Over A Mountain Range During Staaarte '97

  • S. F. J. De WekkerAffiliated withThe University of British ColumbiaPaul Scherrer InstitutePacific Northwest National Laboratory Email author 
  • , D. G. SteynAffiliated withThe University of British Columbia
  • , S. NyekiAffiliated withPaul Scherrer InstituteUniversity of Essex

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The temporal evolution and spatial structure of the aerosol layer (AL) height as observed with an airborne downlooking lidar over the Swiss Alps were investigated with a three-dimensional mesoscale numerical model and a particle dispersion model. Convective boundary-layer (CBL) heights were derived from the mesoscale model output, and the behaviour of surface-released particles was investigated with the particle dispersion model. While a previous investigation, using data from the same field study, equated the observed AL height with the CBL height, the results of the current investigation indicate that there is a considerable difference between AL and CBL heights caused by mixing and transport processes between the CBL and the free atmosphere. CBL heights show a more terrain-following behaviour and are lower than AL heights. We argue that processes causing the difference between AL and CBL heights are common over mountainous terrain and that the AL height is a length scale that needs to be considered in air pollution studies in mountainous terrain.

Aerosol layer Boundary-layer height Convective boundary layer Lidar Mountainous terrain Numerical modelling