Antarctic Science

Papers—Atmoshpheric Sciences

Characteristics of the boundary layer thermal structure at a coastal region of Adélie Land, East Antarctica

B. S. Gera a1a3, S. Argentini a1, G. Mastrantonio a1, A. Viola a1 and A. Weill a2
a1 Istituto di Fisica dell' Atmosfera, CNR, via Fosso del Cavaliere, 1-00133 Roma, Italy
a2 CETP (CNRS), 10-12 Av de L'Europe, F-78140 Velizy, France
a3 Permanent affiliation: National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi-110012, India

Article author query
gera b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
argentini s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mastrantonio g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
viola a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
weill a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The boundary layer thermal structure, observed through Doppler sodar, at Dumont d'Urville, has been analysed. Typical echograms of the spiky layers, wavy layers and thermal plumes, except for the eroding inversion, have been observed. The annual distribution of these thermal structures is presented. The spiky layers are observed to coincide with strong winds (mainly katabatic) flowing from the inner continent sector, 90°–180°. The upper boundary of the spiky layers is correlated to the wind direction; the maximum depths (more than 400 m) are confined to 60° wide span centred at 135°. The predominant waves and the spiky layers, tend to occur alternately in accordance with the relative dominance of the katabatic flow intensity and the stability conditions. The sodar signatures of these structures are examined in relation to the onset and dissipation time, duration and the seasonal distribution. Both waves and spiky layers occur at any hour of the day; their maximum occurrence is in winter months. The persistence of the waves varies from a couple of hours to a couple of days while the spiky layers can occur for periods even longer than 3–4 days. The characteristics of these phenomena are associated with the diurnal radiational cycle and the temperature contrast in proximity to the coast.

(Received August 8 1996)
(Accepted June 8 1997)

Key Words: Antarctica; boundary layer; inversion; katabatic winds; sodar; spiky layer.