On the complexity of the boundary layer structure and aerosol vertical distribution in the coastal Mediterranean regions: A case study

Giandomenico Pace, Wolfgang Junkermann, Lina Vitali, Alcide Di Sarra, Daniela Meloni, Marco Cacciani, Giuseppe Cremona, Anna Maria Iannarelli, Gabriele Zanini

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The planetary boundary layer structure in the coastal areas, and particularly in complex orography regions such as the Mediterranean, is extremely intricate. In this study, we show the evolution of the planetary boundary layer based on in situ airborne measurements and ground-based remote sensing observations carried out during the MORE (Marine Ozone and Radiation Experiment) campaign in June 2010. The campaign was held in a rural coastal Mediterranean region in Southern Italy. The study focuses on the observations made on 17 June. Vertical profiles of meteorological parameters and aerosol size distribution were measured during two flights: in the morning and in the afternoon. Airborne observations were combined with ground-based LIDAR, SODAR, microwave and visible radiometer measurements, allowing a detailed description of the atmospheric vertical structure. The analysis was complemented with data from a regional atmospheric model run with horizontal resolutions of 12, 4 and 1 km, respectively; back-trajectories were calculated at these spatial resolutions. The observations show the simultaneous occurrence of dust transport, descent of mid-tropospheric air and sea breeze circulation on 17 June. Local pollution effects on the aerosol distribution, and a possible event of new particles formation were also observed. A large variability in the thermodynamical structure and aerosol distribution in the flight region, extending by approximately 30km along the coast, was found. Within this complex, environment-relevant differences in the back-trajectories calculated at different spatial resolutions are found, suggesting that the description of several dynamical processes, and in particular the sea breeze circulation, requires high-resolution meteorological analyses. The study also shows that the integration of different observational techniques is needed to describe these complex conditions; in particular, the availability of flights and their timing with respect to the occurring phenomena are crucial.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27721
Pages (from-to)-
JournalTellus, Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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