Articles | Volume 16, issue 20
Research article
28 Oct 2016
Research article |  | 28 Oct 2016

The climatology of planetary boundary layer height in China derived from radiosonde and reanalysis data

Jianping Guo, Yucong Miao, Yong Zhang, Huan Liu, Zhanqing Li, Wanchun Zhang, Jing He, Mengyun Lou, Yan Yan, Lingen Bian, and Panmao Zhai

Abstract. The important roles of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) in climate, weather and air quality have long been recognized, but little is known about the PBL climatology in China. Using the fine-resolution sounding observations made across China and reanalysis data, we conducted a comprehensive investigation of the PBL in China from January 2011 to July 2015. The boundary layer height (BLH) is found to be generally higher in spring and summer than that in fall and winter. The comparison of seasonally averaged BLHs derived from observations and reanalysis, on average, shows good agreement, despite the pronounced inconsistence in some regions. The BLH, derived from soundings conducted three or four times daily in summer, tends to peak in the early afternoon, and the diurnal amplitude of BLH is higher in the northern and western subregions of China than other subregions. The meteorological influence on the annual cycle of BLH is investigated as well, showing that BLH at most sounding sites is negatively associated with the surface pressure and lower tropospheric stability, but positively associated with the near-surface wind speed and temperature. In addition, cloud tends to suppress the development of PBL, particularly in the early afternoon. This indicates that meteorology plays a significant role in the PBL processes. Overall, the key findings obtained from this study lay a solid foundation for us to gain a deep insight into the fundamentals of PBL in China, which helps to understand the roles that the PBL plays in the air pollution, weather and climate of China.

Short summary
The large-scale PBL climatology from sounding observations is still lacking in China. This work investigated the BLH characterization at diurnal, monthly and seasonal timescales throughout China, showing large geographic and meteorological dependences. BLH is, on average, negatively (positively) associated with the surface pressure and lower tropospheric stability (wind speed and temperature). Cloud tends to suppress the development of the PBL, which has implications for air quality forecasts.
Final-revised paper