Estimation of the marine boundary layer height over the central North Pacific using GPS radio occultation




Williams, Jr., Thomas E.
Chen, Yi-Leng
Xie, Feiqin


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Global positioning system radio occultation (GPS RO) refractivity data obtained from the first Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) for the years 2007 to 2012 were used to estimate an overall climatology for the height of the marine boundary layer (MBL) over the central North Pacific Ocean including the Hawaiian Island region (10°N–45°N; 125°W–175°W). The trade wind days are identified based on the six-year National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) global analysis for the same period. About 87% of the RO soundings in summer (June–July–August, JJA) and 47% in winter (December–January–February, DJF) are under trade wind conditions. The MBL height climatology under trade wind conditions is derived and compared to the overall climatology. In general, MBL heights are lowest adjacent to the southern coast of California and gradually increase to the south and west. During the summer (JJA) when the northeasterly trade winds are the dominant surface flow, the median MBL height decreases from 2.0 km over Kauai to 1.9 km over the Big Island with an approximate 2 km maximum that progresses from southwest to northeast throughout the year. If the surface flow is restricted to trade winds only, the maximum MBL heights are located over the same areas, but they increase to a median height of 1.8 km during DJF and 2.1 km during JJA. For the first time, the GPS RO technique allows the depiction of the spatial variations of the MBL height climatology over the central North Pacific.



boundary layer, boundary layer height, trade wind, cosmic, gps radio occultation, hawaii, refractivity



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Winning Jr, T.E., Chen, Y.L. and Xie, F., 2017. Estimation of the marine boundary layer height over the central North Pacific using GPS radio occultation. Atmospheric Research, 183, pp.362-370.