The Kwinana coastal fumigation study: II - growth of the thermal internal boundary layer

A. K. Luhar, B. L. Sawford, J. M. Hacker, K. N. Rayner

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    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Aircraft measurements of potential temperature and turbulent kinetic energy are used to examine the growth of the thermal internal boundary layer (TIBL) in sea-breeze flows on four selected days of a coastal fumigation study performed in 1995 at Kwinana in Western Australia. The aircraft data, together with radiosonde measurements taken on the same days, show a multi-layered low-level onshore flow in the vertical with a superadiabatic layer extending to about 50 m above the water surface on all four days. On the first three days the layer above the superadiabatic layer was neutral, typically 200 m deep, capped by a stably stratified region, whereas on the remaining day it was fully stable. The occurrence of the neutral layer on most experimental days contrasts with the more usual situation involving an entirely stable onshore flow. A composite approach based on both temperature and turbulence data is used to provide a pragmatic but self-consistent definition of the TIBL height. The data for the first three days indicate that the TIBL grows rapidly into the neutrally stratified region to the top of the region within about 2 km from the coast, with a very slow subsequent growth into the stable stratification aloft. On the other hand, the TIBL grows only to about 200 m within a distance of 7 km from the coast on the fourth day due to a strong stable stratification. An existing numerical TIBL model based on the slab approach, capable of describing the TIBL growth in both neutral and stable environments, and a recent analytical model, more efficient for operational use, are used to simulate the aircraft TIBL observations. The predictions by both models agree reasonably well with the data.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-405
    Number of pages21
    JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998


    • Aircraft measurements
    • Atmospheric dispersion
    • Coastal meteorology
    • Sea breeze
    • Shoreline fumigation
    • Slab model


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