Articles | Volume 12, issue 19
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 9335–9353, 2012

Special issue: Summertime boreal forest atmospheric chemistry and physics...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 9335–9353, 2012

Research article 15 Oct 2012

Research article | 15 Oct 2012

Characterization of a boreal convective boundary layer and its impact on atmospheric chemistry during HUMPPA-COPEC-2010

H. G. Ouwersloot1,2, J. Vilà-Guerau de Arellano1, A. C. Nölscher2, M. C. Krol1, L. N. Ganzeveld3, C. Breitenberger2, I. Mammarella4, J. Williams2, and J. Lelieveld2 H. G. Ouwersloot et al.
  • 1Meteorology and Air Quality, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 2Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 3Earth System Sciences – Climate Change, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 4Department of Physics, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. We studied the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) dynamics and the impact on atmospheric chemistry during the HUMPPA-COPEC-2010 campaign. We used vertical profiles of potential temperature and specific moisture, obtained from 132 radio soundings, to determine the main boundary layer characteristics during the campaign. We propose a classification according to several main ABL prototypes. Further, we performed a case study of a single day, focusing on the convective boundary layer, to analyse the influence of the dynamics on the chemical evolution of the ABL. We used a mixed layer model, initialized and constrained by observations. In particular, we investigated the role of large scale atmospheric dynamics (subsidence and advection) on the ABL development and the evolution of chemical species concentrations. We find that, if the large scale forcings are taken into account, the ABL dynamics are represented satisfactorily. Subsequently, we studied the impact of mixing with a residual layer aloft during the morning transition on atmospheric chemistry. The time evolution of NOx and O3 concentrations, including morning peaks, can be explained and accurately simulated by incorporating the transition of the ABL dynamics from night to day. We demonstrate the importance of the ABL height evolution for the representation of atmospheric chemistry. Our findings underscore the need to couple the dynamics and chemistry at different spatial scales (from turbulence to mesoscale) in chemistry-transport models and in the interpretation of observational data.

Final-revised paper