In this study, we evaluated the effect of land cover, atmospheric subsidence, and advection on the annual dynamics of atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) height from two contrasting sites. The first site is the Walker Branch forest, a deciduous forest of temperate climate, complex topography, and cloudy summers. The second site is the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a site of Mediterranean climate, flat terrain on a local scale, and clear summers. After testing a new algorithm to calculate ABL heights from 915 MHz radar wind profilers, we evaluated a hierarchy of three slab models to recreate the diurnal and annual patterns of ABL growth. We found that the lower ABL heights in the Delta, particularly during late summer, are driven by the combined effects of increased atmospheric subsidence and marine air advection. In both sites, the annual pattern of ABL height was strongly correlated to total daily incoming radiation, and in the Delta, the annual pattern of ABL height closely followed the seasonal patterns of sensible heat flux from a mosaic of different land covers. A land composite of latent and sensible heat fluxes obtained through a meso-network of eddy covariance measurements and the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) mission resulted in higher model skill, thus showing that land cover heterogeneity is an important driver of ABL growth. Model simulations show that in the Delta, restoring agricultural land to wetlands with large open water areas could result in a reduction of ABL height during those months with low subsidence and advection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science