787 Interaction Between Aerosol and the Planetary Boundary Layer Depth at Sites in the US and China

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Virginia R. Sawyer, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; and Z. Li, S. Liu, and Z. Wang

The depth of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) defines a changing volume into which pollutants from the surface can disperse, which affects weather, surface air quality and radiative forcing in the lower troposphere. Model simulations have also shown that aerosol within the PBL heats the layer at the expense of the surface, changing the stability profile and therefore also the development of the PBL itself: aerosol radiative forcing within the PBL suppresses surface convection and causes shallower PBLs. However, the effect has been difficult to detect in observations. The most intensive radiosonde measurements have a temporal resolution too coarse to detect the full diurnal variability of the PBL, but remote sensing such as lidar can fill in the gaps. Using a method that combines two common PBL detection algorithms (wavelet covariance and iterative curve-fitting) PBL depth retrievals from micropulse lidar (MPL) at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site are compared to MPL-derived PBL depths from a multiyear lidar deployment at the Hefei Radiation Observatory (HeRO). With aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements from both sites, it can be shown that a weak inverse relationship exists between AOD and daytime PBL depth. This relationship is stronger at the more polluted HeRO site than at SGP. Figure: Mean daily AOD vs. mean daily PBL depth, with the Nadaraya-Watson estimator overlaid on the kernel density estimate. Left, SGP; right, HeRO.

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