An Airborne Investigation of Boundary Layer Dynamics, Entrainment, and Ozone Photochemical Production During DISCOVER-AQ in California's Central Valley

Friday, 19 December 2014
Stephen A Conley, Andrew Post and Ian C Faloona, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, United States
During the California deployment of NASA's DISCOVER-AQ project of January/February 2013, our team flew a Mooney TLS research aircraft instrumented with an in-house wind measurement system, a UV absorption ozone instrument, temperature probe, and a Picarro methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor analyzer. Flights were focused on the lowest 1000 m across the Central Valley axis just north of Fresno in order to characterize the wintertime atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). For seven flights we report the observed ABL growth rates, and compare these with a simple mixed layer model driven by surface heat flux estimates from the North American Regional Reanalysis data set. By enforcing a mixed layer budget closure of the observed water vapor trend and the differential across the ABL top, we derive midday entrainment velocities for the region that average 1.2 (± 0.4) cm s-1. A similar budgeting method is used for ozone to estimate wintertime photochemical production rates that ranged from 0.5 to 7.0 ppb h-1, and exhibited a strong correlation with ambient temperature (see Figure) and total ozone abundance. Finally, the gross emissions of methane for this heavily agricultural region are estimated and compared to existing inventories. These results can provide important constraints on ABL growth and entrainment to aid surface studies of aerosol composition and other trace gases that are being conducted for DISCOVER-AQ.