A planetary boundary-layer study in the Mackenzie Valley, Canada
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Detailed wind velocity profiles were obtained by means of a rocket-sonde technique to a height of about 700 m at a site in the Canadian Northwest Territories. Less detailed temperature observations were also made using a balloon sonde. The site was some 100 km east of the easternmost range of the Rocky Mountains. The observations took place in mid-February when the overall atmospheric static stability was considerable.
The results showed the presence of an arctic, atmospheric ‘thermocline’ some 500 m above ground, which sloped up or down considerably, with the generators of isothermal surfaces usually parallel to the nearby mountains, in the manner of upwelled or downwelled thermoclines in the ocean near shore. There was often strong baroclinic flow parallel to the mountain range. Noticeable frictional effects were confined to a near-ground layer always less than 100 m and mostly no more than 10 m in height. An Ekman-type boundary layer could only be identified in about one-third of the velocity profiles. The non-dimensionalized depth coefficient of such layers was close to 0.1, the geostrophic drag coefficient about 2.5×10−4.
KeywordsVelocity Profile Drag Coefficient Mountain Range Rocky Mountain Temperature Observation
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