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BOON research Projects > Climate Research

Marine Atmospheric Boundary Layer (MABL)

Ian Faloona Ph.D., UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources

Stephen Lightfoote, Atmospheric Science Graduate Group

MABL Description:

During the summertime a sharp meteorological contrast is established in Northern California between the Pacific High pressure system offshore and the thermal low of California’s great central valley. The resultant along-shore winds and cold ocean waters along the coast are very important components of the local climate. Another atmospheric consequence of this contrast is the presence of a very strong temperature inversion separating warm and dry air subsiding aloft from the cool and moist, turbulent air near the ocean surface. This well-mixed layer over the ocean is known as the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL), and its vertical structure, depth, and temporal variability are important to a range of scientific interests.  These include the dynamics of the alongshore winds and their consequent impact on ocean upwelling; the upwelling nutrient supply’s influence on the bountiful marine food web; the transport of chemical compounds from the ocean to the atmosphere; and the development of marine stratocumulus cloud layers, which are critical components of the regional climate. Of course, the environmental consequences of this meteorological setting are also important to operational interests such as to fishing vessels, small craft, and aviation.  The height of the MABL is defined as the altitude of the base of the temperature inversion, and generally demarcates the depth to which atmospheric constituents are effectively mixed on short time scales.

Algorithm Description

Measurement of the MABL height is derived from RASS (radio acoustic sounding system) virtual temperature soundings of the 915-MHz wind profiler operated by NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (Physical Sciences Division) at BML (38.32N, 123.07W).  The algorithm records the height of the initial positive jump in equivalent potential temperature (dΘv/dz) from the surface mixed layer to capping inversion.  If there is no inversion layer present, the MABL height is not measured for that time period. 

Download Matlab fig files of all processed years 04/05-07/07 [zipped archive]

Data Sources:

Data are retrieved from the NOAA ESRL PSD ftp site and from the BOON Data Access Portal (for information regarding access to the BML data sets, please refer to the BOON Data Usage Guidelines page). Data are uploaded on a monthly basis and plotted using MatLab Processing software.

Choose a panel to view a plot:

July 2007
Aug 2006
June 2007
June 2007
May 2007
May 2007
April 2007
April 2007
August 2006
April 2005
July 2006
July 2006
June 2006
June 2006
May 2006
May 2006
April 2006
April 2006
August 2005
Aug 2005
July 2005
July 2005
June 2005
June 2005
May 2005
May 2005
April 2005
April 2005

This data is courtesy of NOAA - Earth System Research Laboratory