A preliminary investigation of boundary layer effects on daytime atmospheric CO2 concentrations at a mountaintop location in the Rocky Mountains
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Observations of CO2 concentration at a mountaintop in the Colorado Rockies in summer show a large diurnal variability with minimum CO2 concentrations found between 10:00 and 18:00 MST. Simulations are performed with a mesoscale model to examine the effects of atmospheric structure and large-scale flows on the diurnal variability. In the simulations initialized without large-scale winds, the CO2 minimum occurs earlier compared to the observations. Upslope flows play an important role in the presence of this early (pre-noon) minimum while the timing and magnitude of the minimum depend only weakly on the temperature structure. An increase in large-scale flow has a noticeable impact on the diurnal variability with a more gradual decrease in daytime CO2 concentration, similar to summer-averaged observations. From the idealized simulations and a case study, it is concluded that multi-scale flows and their interactions have a large influence on the observed diurnal variability.
Key wordsmesoscale circulations atmospheric boundary layer complex terrain CO2 concentration mountaintop observatory
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