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On the Arctic Boundary Layer : From Turbulence to Climate

by Mauritsen, Thorsten

Abstract (Summary)
The boundary layer is the part of the atmosphere that is in direct contact with the ground via turbulent motion. At mid-latitudes the boundary layer is usually one or a few kilometers deep, while in the Arctic it is much more shallow, typically a few hundred meters or less. The reason is that here the absolute temperature increases in the lowest kilometer, making the boundary layer semi-permanently stably stratified. The exchange of heat, momentum and tracers between the atmosphere, ocean and ground under stable stratification is discussed from an observational, modeling and climate-change point of view. A compilation of six observational datasets, ordered by the Richardson number (rather than the widely used Monin-Obukhov length) reveals new information about turbulence in the very stably stratified regime. An essentially new turbulence closure model, based on the total turbulent energy concept and these observational datasets, is developed and tested against large-eddy simulations with promising results. The role of mesoscale motion in the exchange between the atmosphere and surface is investigated both for observations and in idealized model simulations. Finally, it is found that the stably stratified boundary layer is more sensitive to external surface forcing than its neutral and convective counterparts. It is speculated that this could be part of the explanation for the observed Arctic amplification of climate change.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Earth sciences; Atmosphere and hydrosphere sciences; Meteorology; Atmospheric boundary layers; Turbulence; Stable stratification; Gravity waves; Mesoscale motion; Arctic climate; atmosfärvetenskap; Atmospheric Sciences

ISBN:91-7155-373-8

Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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