Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
Research article
11 Jan 2017
Research article |  | 11 Jan 2017

Diurnal variability of the atmospheric boundary layer height over a tropical station in the Indian monsoon region

Sanjay Kumar Mehta, Madineni Venkat Ratnam, Sukumarapillai V. Sunilkumar, Daggumati Narayana Rao, and Boddapaty V. Krishna Murthy

Abstract. The diurnal variation of atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) height is studied using high-resolution radiosonde observations available at 3 h intervals for 3 days continuously from 34 intensive campaigns conducted during the period December 2010–March 2014 over a tropical station Gadanki (13.5° N, 79.2° E; 375 m), in the Indian monsoon region. The heights of the ABL during the different stages of its diurnal evolution, namely, the convective boundary layer (CBL), the stable boundary layer (SBL), and the residual layer (RL) are obtained to study the diurnal variabilities. A clear diurnal variation is observed in 9 campaigns out of the 34 campaigns. In 7 campaigns the SBL did not form in the entire day and in the remaining 18 campaigns the SBL formed intermittently. The SBL forms for 33–55 % of the time during nighttime and 9 and 25 % during the evening and morning hours, respectively. The mean SBL height is within 0.3 km above the surface which increases slightly just after midnight (02:00 IST) and remains almost constant until the morning. The mean CBL height is within 3.0 km above the surface, which generally increases from morning to evening. The mean RL height is within 2 km above the surface which generally decreases slowly as the night progresses. The diurnal variation of the ABL height over the Indian region is stronger during the pre-monsoon and weaker during winter season. The CBL is higher during the summer monsoon and lower during the winter season while the RL is higher during the winter season and lower during the summer season. During all the seasons, the ABL height peaks during the afternoon (∼ 14:00 IST) and remains elevated until evening (∼ 17:00 IST). The ABL suddenly collapses at 20:00 IST and increases slightly in the night. Interestingly, it is found that the low level clouds have an effect on the ABL height variability, but the deep convective clouds do not. The lifting condensation level (LCL) is generally found to occur below the ABL for the majority of the database and they are randomly related.

Short summary
Study of the diurnal variation of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) height is important for the knowledge of pollutant dispersion, crucial for all living beings. The most difficult part in the study of the diurnal variation is in identification of the stable boundary layer which occurs ~ 50% of times only and mostly during nighttime winter. Surface temperature and clouds directly affect the diurnal pattern of the ABL. Thus, stronger (weaker) diurnal variation found during pre-monsoon (winter).
Final-revised paper