Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-257
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-257

  17 May 2021

17 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Investigation of near-global daytime boundary layer height using high-resolution radiosondes: First results and comparison with ERA-5, MERRA-2, JRA-55, and NCEP-2 reanalyses

Jianping Guo1, Jian Zhang2, Kun Yang3, Hong Liao4, Shaodong Zhang5, Kaiming Huang5, Yanmin Lv1, Jia Shao6, Tao Yu2, Bing Tong1, Jian Li1, Tianning Su7, Steve H. L. Yim8,9, Ad Stoffelen10, Panmao Zhai1, and Xiaofeng Xu11 Jianping Guo et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
  • 2Hubei Subsurface Multi-scale Imaging Key Laboratory, Institute of Geophysics and Geomatics, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • 3Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 4Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 5School of Electronic Information, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • 6College of Informatics, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
  • 7Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA
  • 8Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China
  • 9Stanley Ho Big Data Decision Analytics Research Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China
  • 10The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), 3730 AE De Bilt, The Netherlands
  • 11China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China

Abstract. The planetary boundary layer height (BLH) governs the vertical transport of mass, momentum and moisture between the surface and the free atmosphere, and thus its characterization is recognized as crucial for air quality, weather and climate. Although reanalysis products can provide important insight into the global view of BLH in a seamless way, the in situ observed BLH on a global scale remains poorly understood due to the lack of high-resolution (1-s or 2-s) radiosonde measurements. The present study attempts to establish a near-global BLH climatology at synoptic times (0000 and 1200 UTC) and in the daytime using high-resolution radiosonde measurements over 300 radiosonde sites worldwide for the period 2012 to 2019, which is then compared against the BLHs obtained from four reanalysis datasets, including ERA-5, MERRA-2, JRA-55, and NCEP-2. The variations of BLH exhibit large spatial and temporal dependence, and as a result the BLH maxima are generally discerned over the regions such as Western United States and Western China, in which the balloon launch times mostly correspond to the afternoon. The diurnal variations of BLH are revealed with a peak at 1700 Local Solar Time (LST). The most promising reanalysis product is ERA-5, which underestimates BLH by around 130 m as compared to radiosondes. In addition, MERRA-2 is a well-established product and has an underestimation of around 160 m. JRA-55 and NCEP-2 might produce considerable additional uncertainties, with a much larger underestimation of up to 400 m. The largest bias in the reanalysis data appears over the Western United States and Western China and it might be attributed to the maximal BLH in the afternoon when the boundary layer has grown up. Statistical analyses further indicate that the biases of reanalysis BLH products are positively associated with orographic complexity, as well as the occurrence of static instability. To our best knowledge, this study presents the first near-global view of high-resolution radiosonde derived BLH and provides a quantitative assessment of the four frequently used reanalysis products.

Jianping Guo et al.

Status: open (until 12 Jul 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-257', Anonymous Referee #3, 05 Jun 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-257', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Jun 2021 reply

Jianping Guo et al.

Jianping Guo et al.

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Short summary
The planetary boundary layer (PBL) is the lowest part of the troposphere, and boundary layer height (BLH) is the depth of PBL and is of critical importance to the dispersion of air pollution. The study presents the first near-global BLH climatology by using high-resolution (5–10 m) radiosonde measurements. The variations of BLH exhibit large spatial and temporal dependence, with a peak at 1700 Local Solar Time. The most promising reanalysis product is ERA-5 in terms of modeling BLH.
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