Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 150, Issue 1, pp 107–130 | Cite as

Impacts of Mixing Processes in Nocturnal Atmospheric Boundary Layer on Urban Ozone Concentrations

  • Petra M. KleinEmail author
  • Xiao-Ming Hu
  • Ming Xue


A number of open questions remain regarding the role of low-level jets (LLJs) and nocturnal mixing processes in the buildup of tropospheric ozone. The prevalence of southerly winds and LLJs in the U.S. Southern Great Plains during summer makes this region an ideal site for investigating the structure of the nocturnal boundary layer and its impacts on urban air quality. Ozone \((\mathrm{O}_{3})\) and nitrogen oxide concentrations measured at regulatory monitoring sites in the Oklahoma City (OKC) area and simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry (WRF/Chem) model were analyzed to show how the nocturnal LLJ moderates boundary-layer mixing processes and air quality. Datasets collected during the Joint Urban 2003 campaign, which took place in July 2003 in OKC, provided detailed information about nocturnal boundary-layer structure and dynamics. In general, \({\mathrm{O}_{3}}\) time series show the expected behavior that urban \({\mathrm{O}_{3}}\) concentrations decrease at night due to nitrogen oxide titration reactions, but elevated \({\mathrm{O}_{3}}\) concentrations and secondary \({\mathrm{O}_{3}}\) peaks are also seen quite frequently after sunset. LLJs developed on most nights during the study period and were associated with strong vertical wind shear, which affected the boundary-layer stability and structure. Near-surface \({\mathrm{O}_{3}}\) concentrations are higher during less stable nights when active mixing persists throughout the night. The WRF/Chem model results agree well with the observations and further demonstrate the role of LLJs in moderating nocturnal mixing processes and air quality. The highest nocturnal \({\mathrm{O}_{3}}\) concentrations are linked to a strong LLJ that promotes both nocturnal long-range transport and persistent downward mixing of \({\mathrm{O}_{3}}\) from the residual layer to the surface.


Low-level jet Nocturnal boundary layer Tropospheric ozone Turbulent mixing Urban air quality 



This study was supported by funding from the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma and through the NSF Career award ILREUM (NSF ATM 0547882). The JU2003 experiments were funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Urban Dispersion Modeling program managed by John Pace and Rick Fry. Oklahoma’s taxpayers fund the Oklahoma Mesonet through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. The authors would also like to thank Leon Ashford from the Department of Environmental Quality in OKC for his support in obtaining the air-quality data, Jeffrey Basara and Brad Illston from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey for providing data from the Oklahoma Mesonet and for creating Fig. 1 for the manuscript, and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MeteorologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Center for Analysis and Prediction of StormsUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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