Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 383–408 | Cite as

Linkages Between Boundary-Layer Structure and the Development of Nocturnal Low-Level Jets in Central Oklahoma

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


In the Southern Great Plains, nocturnal low-level jets (LLJs) develop frequently after sunset and play an important role in the transport and dispersion of moisture and atmospheric pollutants. However, our knowledge regarding the LLJ evolution and its feedback on the structure of the nocturnal boundary layer (NBL) is still limited. In the present study, NBL characteristics and their interdependencies with LLJ evolution are investigated using datasets collected across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area during the Joint Urban field experiment in July 2003 and from three-dimensional simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The strength of the LLJs and turbulent mixing in the NBL both increase with the geostrophic forcing. During nights with the strongest LLJs, turbulent mixing persisted after sunset in the NBL and a strong surface temperature inversion did not develop. However, the strongest increase in LLJ speed relative to the mixed-layer wind speed in the daytime convective boundary layer (CBL) occurred when the geostrophic forcing was relatively weak and thermally-induced turbulence in the CBL was strong. Under these conditions, turbulent mixing at night was typically much weaker and a strong surface-based inversion developed. Sensitivity tests with the WRF model confirm that weakening of turbulent mixing during the decay of the CBL in the early evening transition is critical for LLJ formation. The cessation of thermally-induced CBL turbulence during the early evening transition triggers an inertial oscillation, which contributes to the LLJ formation.


Low-level jet Nocturnal boundary layer Stable boundary layer 



This work was supported by funding from the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma. The first author was also supported through the NSF Career award ILREUM (NSF ATM 0547882) and NSF grant AGS-1359698. The fourth author was also supported by NSF grants OCI-0905040, AGS-0802888, AGS-0750790, AGS-0941491, AGS-1046171, and AGS-1046081. WRF model simulations were performed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra M. Klein
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiao-Ming Hu
    • 1
  • Alan Shapiro
    • 1
  • Ming Xue
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Meteorology and Center for Analysis and Prediction of StormsUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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