08 Sep 2023
 | 08 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD).

Exploring the daytime boundary layer evolution based on Doppler spectrum width from multiple coplanar wind lidars during CROSSINN

Nevio Babić, Bianca Adler, Alexander Gohm, Manuela Lehner, and Norbert Kalthoff

Abstract. Over heterogeneous, mountainous terrain, the determination of spatial heterogeneity of any type of a turbulent layer has been known to pose substantial challenges in mountain meteorology. In addition to the combined effect in which buoyancy and shear contribute to the turbulence intensity of such layers, it is well known that mountains add an additional degree of complexity via non-local transport mechanisms, compared to flatter topography. It is therefore the aim of this study to determine the vertical depths of both daytime convectively and shear-driven boundary layers within a fairly wide and deep Alpine Valley during summertime. Specifically, three Doppler lidars deployed during the CROSSINN (Cross-valley flow in the Inn Valley investigated by dual-Doppler lidar measurements) campaign within a single week in August 2019 are used to this end, as they were deployed along a transect nearly perpendicular to the along-valley axis. To achieve this, a bottom-up exceedance threshold method based on turbulent Doppler spectrum width sampled by the three lidars has been developed and calibrated against a more traditional bulk-Richardson number approach applied to radiosonde profiles obtained above the valley floor. The method was found to adequately capture the depths of convective turbulent boundary layers at a 1-min temporal and 50-m spatial resolution across the valley, with the degree of ambiguity increasing once surface convection decayed and upvalley flows gained in intensity over the course of the afternoon and evening hours. Analysis of four Intensive Observation Period (IOP) events elucidated three regimes of the daytime mountain boundary layer in this section of the Inn Valley. Each of the three regimes has been analyzed as a function of surface sensible heat flux $H$, upper-level valley stability $\Gamma$, and upper-level subsidence $w_L$ estimated with the coplanar retrieval method. Finally, the positioning of the three Doppler lidars in a cross-valley configuration enabled one of the most highly spatially and temporally resolved observational convective boundary layer depth data sets during daytime and over complex terrain to date.

Nevio Babić et al.

Status: open (until 02 Nov 2023)

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Nevio Babić et al.

Nevio Babić et al.


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Short summary
Day-to-day weather over mountains remains a significant challenge in the domain of weather forecast. Using a combination of measurements from several instrument platforms, including Doppler lidars, aircraft, and radiosondes, we developed a method that relies primarily on turbulence characteristics of the lowest layers of the atmosphere. As a result, we identified new ways in which atmosphere behaves over mountains during daytime, which may serve to further improve forecasting capabilities.