13.1 Estimating Planetary Boundary Layer Heights from NOAA Profiler Network Wind Profiler Data

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 3:30 PM
Room 350/351 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Andrea M. Molod, University of Maryland College Park, Greenbelt, MD; and H. Salmun

An algorithm was developed to estimate planetary boundary layer (PBL) heights from hourly archived wind profiler data from the NOAA Profiler Network (NPN) sites located throughout the central United States. Unlike previous studies, the present algorithm has been applied to a long record (1992-2012) of publicly available wind profiler signal backscatter data. Under clear conditions, summertime averaged hourly time series of PBL heights compare well with Richardson-number based estimates at the few NPN stations with hourly temperature measurements. Comparisons with clear sky reanalysis based estimates show that the wind profiler (WP) PBL heights are lower by approximately 250-500 m. The geographical distribution of daily maximum PBL heights corresponds well with the expected distribution based on patterns of surface temperature and soil moisture. Wind profiler PBL heights were also estimated under mostly cloudy conditions, and are generally comparable to the Richardson number based PBL heights and higher than the reanalysis PBL heights. WP PBL heights have a smaller clear-cloudy condition difference than either of the other two. The algorithm presented here is shown to provide a reliable summer, fall and spring climatology of daytime hourly PBL heights throughout the central United States.
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