Articles | Volume 8, issue 5
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2051–2060, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-8-2051-2015
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2051–2060, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-8-2051-2015

Research article 11 May 2015

Research article | 11 May 2015

Methodology for determining multilayered temperature inversions

G. J. Fochesatto G. J. Fochesatto
  • Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Geophysical Institute and College of Natural Science and Mathematics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, Alaska 99775, USA

Abstract. Temperature sounding of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) and lower troposphere exhibits multilayered temperature inversions specially in high latitudes during extreme winters. These temperature inversion layers are originated based on the combined forcing of local- and large-scale synoptic meteorology. At the local scale, the thermal inversion layer forms near the surface and plays a central role in controlling the surface radiative cooling and air pollution dispersion; however, depending upon the large-scale synoptic meteorological forcing, an upper level thermal inversion can also exist topping the local ABL.

In this article a numerical methodology is reported to determine thermal inversion layers present in a given temperature profile and deduce some of their thermodynamic properties.

The algorithm extracts from the temperature profile the most important temperature variations defining thermal inversion layers. This is accomplished by a linear interpolation function of variable length that minimizes an error function. The algorithm functionality is demonstrated on actual radiosonde profiles to deduce the multilayered temperature inversion structure with an error fraction set independently.

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Short summary
Temperature inversion layers originate based on the combined forcing of local- and large-scale synoptic meteorology. A numerical procedure based on a linear interpolation function of variable length that minimizes an error function set a priori is proposed to extract thermodynamic information of the multilayered thermal structure. The method is demonstrated to detect surface-based inversion and multilayered elevated inversions present often in high-latitude atmospheres.