WHITHER THE STABLE BOUNDARY LAYER? A Shift in the Research Agenda yb H. J. S. Fe r n a n do a n d J. C. Weil learly no other part of the atmosphere is more important to Earth’s ecosystems than its lowest layer, known as the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). The land C surface exchanges heat, mass, and momentum with the free atmosphere through the ABL, and naturally the ABL is affected by orography, land use, external forcing (e.g., radiation), and Earth’s rotation. Environmental changes, whether due to slowly evolving global warming or rapidly dispersing atmospheric releases, permeate through to living organisms via the ABL. During the daytime, the ABL is driven by surface heating [the convective boundary layer (CBL)], whereas radiative cooling near the ground at night leads to the stable boundary layer (SBL). The nocturnal boundary layer (NBL) is the most common manifestation of SBL, with notable exceptions being areas where the urban heat island eliminates the near-surface stable stratification and polar regions where the SBL can persist continuously for days. The SBL breaks down into a CBL during the “morning transition,” and the CBL collapses to an SBL during the “evening transition.” Over the past
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Nov 24, 2010
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