On concentration footprints for a tall tower in the presence of a nocturnal low-level jet

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2010

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This paper reports on the location of sources contributing to a point concentration measurement in the stable boundary layer. Concentration footprints for sensors located at different heights during the night are examined using a backward-in-time Lagrangian stochastic dispersion model. Simulations of air parcel transport in a non-steady-state atmospheric boundary layer above a bare surface and a forest under different insolation suggest that sources located as far as several hundred kms away contribute to a concentration measurement made at levels as high as 500 m. The origin of the maximal contribution area shifts during the night depending on the wind direction at the sensor location, a feature most prominent in the presence of decoupling between sensor levels and surface sources. Simulations suggest that atmospheric static stability alone is not a sufficient criterion to trigger flow decoupling. The presence of the low-level jet provides vertical mixing of air parcels even for stable boundary layers with Richardson numbers higher than the critical. This finding is in agreement with earlier observations suggesting that the level of the low-level jet nose acts as a strong lid prohibiting vertical gas propagation. These findings have important implications in the interpretation of eddy-flux measurements in nocturnal conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)755-764
StatePublished - 2011
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 4


  • Wind power meteorology, Wind Energy
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ID: 5503572