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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/12027

Title: Estimation of planetary boundary layer height from radiosonde profiles over West Africa during the AMMA field campaign: Intercomparison of different methods
Authors: Amekudzi, L.K.
Aryee, J.N.A.
Preko, K.
Atiah, W.A.
Danuor, S.K.
Keywords: AMMA
Planetary boundary layer
West Africa
Issue Date: Nov-2019
Publisher: www.elsevier.com/locate/sciaf
Citation: Scientific African, 2468-2276
Abstract: Deducing realistic planetary boundary layer heights (PBLH) is crucial for weather, climate and air quality models, despite its equivocal nature. In this paper, a comparative assessment of seven PBLH estimation methods has been performed, with radiosonde profiles taken during the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (AMMA) project campaign from June, 2006 to July, 2007 over 18 locations in West Africa. First, PBLH was identified from the radiosonde profiles as the location of minimum gradients in mixing ratio (q), relative humidity (RH) and refractivity (N), and maximum gradient in potential temperature (θ). Other methods used to identify PBL tops were the statistical NS method and bulk Richardson (Rib) method at a critical threshold of 0.25. Next, a reference method (ho) was identified as the benchmark for PBL comparison. Visual inspection of the individual profiles allowed for assessing the ho method to yield reliable PBLH estimates. Thereafter, comparisons of the PBLH were performed for both convective and stable cases, with the stable boundary layer (SBL) height being generally below 700 m a.g.l for all methods, whereas, convective boundary layer (CBL) heights ranged between 300 m a.g.l and 1400 m a.g.l across different regions of the study area. Contrarily, the NS method failed to detect the SBL due to its inability to identify a dewpoint or virtual potential temperature discontinuity. Additionally, the Rib method, particularly in stable cases, yielded PBL tops consistent with the reference method (ho) whenever the NLLJ was clearly defined due to contribution of wind shear beneath the jet core to turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) production. Afterwards, the study domain was split into three zones and the performance of each method was assessed per each zone. Spatially, the CBL height was observed to grow thicker in the north-east direction over the dry, arid regions, where integral values of sensible heat rapidly converted by surface net radiation, has significant influence on the growth of CBL throughout daytime. Other likely reasons for this observation are advection, orography and mechanical turbulence production. However, a reversal was observed at night with the SBL being thinner in the dry, arid regions and rather relatively, higher in the coastal regions. Finally, the statistical assessment, coupled with visual inspection of the individual profiles, showed that the gradient methods (particularly N) outperformed the Rib and NS methods, yielding very low biases as well as, high and statistically significant correlation co-efficients. These results are useful for enhancing the performance of PBL models over the region. Possible limitations to the findings of this study are the different ascent times between the sites, as well as the number of ascents per site, which have potential implications for the results. Further work, based on observations from the DACCIWA (Dynamics-aerosol-chemistry-cloud interactions in West Africa) field campaign, is currently ongoing to also fully substantiate the role of radiation and energy budgets in PBL development, while further assessing their significant effect on the performance of the PBL-detection methods.
Description: This article is published in Scientific African, and also available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sciaf.2019.e00228
URI: 10.1016/j.sciaf.2019.e00228
Appears in Collections:College of Science

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