Dynamics-aerosol-chemistry-cloud interactions in West Africa
Research Publications
Boundary Layer Dynamics
01 March 2018
An overview of the diurnal cycle of the atmospheric boundary layer during theWest African monsoon season: results from the 2016 observational campaign
Publication: Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18 (2913-2928)
DOI Number: 10.5194/acp-18-2913-2018
Author: Norbert Kalthoff, Fabienne Lohou, Barbara Brooks, Gbenga Jegede, Bianca Adler, Karmen Babic, Cheikh Dione, Adewale Ajao, Leonard K. Amekudzi, Jeffrey N. A. Aryee, Muritala Ayoola, Geoffrey Bessardon, Sylvester K. Danuor, Jan Handwerker, Martin Kohler, Marie Lothon, Xabier Pedruzo-Bagazgoitia, Victoria Smith, Lukman Sunmonu, AndreasWieser, Andreas H. Fink, and Peter Knippertz
A ground-based field campaign was conducted in southern West Africa from mid-June to the end of July 2016 within the framework of the Dynamics–Aerosol–Chemistry–Cloud Interactions in West Africa (DACCIWA) project. It aimed to provide a high-quality comprehensive data set for process studies, in particular of interactions between low-level clouds (LLCs) and boundary-layer conditions. In this region missing observations are still a major issue. During the campaign, extensive remote sensing and in situ measurements were conducted at three supersites: Kumasi (Ghana), Savè (Benin) and Ile-Ife (Nigeria). Daily radiosoundings were performed at 06:00?UTC, and 15 intensive observation periods (IOPs) were performed during which additional radiosondes were launched, and remotely piloted aerial systems were operated. Extended stratiform LLCs form frequently in southern West Africa during the nighttime and persist long into the following day. They affect the radiation budget and hence the evolution of the atmospheric boundary layer and regional climate. The relevant parameters and processes governing the formation and dissolution of the LLCs are still not fully understood. This paper gives an overview of the diurnal cycles of the energy-balance components, near-surface temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction as well as of the conditions (LLCs, low-level jet) in the boundary layer at the supersites and relates them to synoptic-scale conditions (monsoon layer, harmattan layer, African easterly jet, tropospheric stratification) in the DACCIWA operational area. The characteristics of LLCs vary considerably from day to day, including a few almost cloud-free nights. During cloudy nights we found large differences in the LLCs' formation and dissolution times as well as in the cloud-base height. The differences exist at individual sites and also between the sites. The synoptic conditions are characterized by a monsoon layer with south-westerly winds, on average about 1.9?km deep, and easterly winds above; the depth and strength of the monsoon flow show great day-to-day variability. Within the monsoon layer, a nocturnal low-level jet forms in approximately the same layer as the LLC. Its strength and duration is highly variable from night to night. This unique data set will allow us to test some new hypotheses about the processes involved in the development of LLCs and their interaction with the boundary layer and can also be used for model evaluation.