S14 On a relationship between the planetary boundary layer height (PBLH) and precipitation

Sunday, 23 January 2011
Alyssa V. Bates, Penn State University, University Park, PA; and X. Z. Liang

The top of the turbulent planetary boundary layer, also known as the planetary boundary layer height (PBLH), is related to many atmospheric variables. It is also an important parameter used in many climate and forecasting models. This study sought to shed more light onto this highly relevant height and the relationship it has, if any, with precipitation. The ways in which the PBLH can be calculated were researched. Next, the diurnal range and seasonal diurnal range of the PBLH over land and water were assessed using monthly-averaged data gathered from the Climate extension for Weather and Research Forecasting (CWRF) model. Finally, a correlation was derived between PBLH and precipitation amounts over land and water by utilizing daily averaged data from CWRF. The diurnal range portion of the study found a maximum PBLH between 15 and 18 Local Standard Time (LST) over land and a maximum at 12 LST over oceans. Summer had the largest diurnal range over land while each season had only a small range over water. Then, a positive correlation was found between PBLH and precipitation amounts over land in winter and over the oceans in summer. That discovery could have significant impacts on further development of forecasting and climate models since this relationship could, for example, help predict the base at which clouds will begin to form. The PBLH's relationships with other weather parameters, especially precipitation, remain to be explored to their fullest extents.
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