Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 131, Issue 1–2, pp 77–90 | Cite as

Two years observations on the diurnal evolution of coastal atmospheric boundary layer features over Thiruvananthapuram (8.5 N, 76.9 E), India

  • T. J. Anurose
  • D. Bala SubrahamanyamEmail author
  • S. V. Sunilkumar
Original Paper


The atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) over a given coastal station is influenced by the presence of mesoscale sea breeze circulation, together with the local and synoptic weather, which directly or indirectly modulate the vertical thickness of ABL (z ABL). Despite its importance in the characterization of lower tropospheric processes and atmospheric modeling studies, a reliable climatology on the temporal evolution of z ABL is not available over the tropics. Here, we investigate the challenges involved in determination of the ABL heights, and discuss an objective method to define the vertical structure of coastal ABL. The study presents a two year morphology on the diurnal evolution of the vertical thickness of sea breeze flow (z SBF) and z ABL in association with the altitudes of lifting condensation level (z LCL) over Thiruvananthapuram (8.5 N, 76.9 E), a representative coastal station on the western coastline of the Indian sub-continent. We make use of about 516 balloon-borne GPS sonde measurements in the present study, which were carried out as part of the tropical tropopause dynamics field experiment under the climate and weather of the sun-earth system (CAWSES)–India program. Results obtained from the present study reveal major differences in the temporal evolution of the ABL features in relation to the strength of sea breeze circulation and monsoonal wind flow during the winter and summer monsoon respectively. The diurnal evolution in z ABL is very prominent in the winter monsoon as against the summer monsoon, which is attributed to the impact of large-scale monsoonal flow over the surface layer meteorology. For a majority of the database, the z LCL altitudes are found to be higher than that of the z ABL, indicating a possible decoupling of the ABL with the low-level clouds.


Atmospheric boundary layer Mixed layer height Lifting condensation level Total total index Convection Sea breeze circulation 



The TTD field experiment is conducted as part of the CAWSES–India program and the authors duly acknowledge the support rendered by all the team members of this program. We also thank Dr. KVS Namboodiri and his colleagues from the MET-Facility and all the team members of TTD from the SPL for their active involvement in the field campaign. One of the authors Ms. TJA is thankful to the Indian Space Research Organization for her research fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. J. Anurose
    • 1
  • D. Bala Subrahamanyam
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. V. Sunilkumar
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Department of Space, Government of IndiaIndian Space Research OrganizationThiruvananthapuramIndia

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