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Journal ArticleDOI

Investigation on the fine structure of sea-breeze during ESCOMPTE experiment

01 Mar 2005-Atmospheric Research (Elsevier)-Vol. 74, pp 329-353

Abstract: Surface and remote-sensing instruments deployed during ESCOMPTE experiment over the Marseille area, along the Mediterranean coast, were used to investigate the fine structure of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) during sea-breeze circulation in relation to pollutant transport and diffusion. Six sea-breeze events are analyzed with a particular focus on 25 June 2001. Advection of cool and humid marine air over land has a profound influence on the daytime ABL characteristics. This impact decreases rapidly with the inland distance from the sea. Nearby the coast (3 km inland), the mixing height Zi rises up to 750 m and falls down after 15:00 (UT) when the breeze flow reaches its maximum intensity. A more classical evolution of the ABL is observed at only 11-km inland where Zi culminates in the morning and stabilizes in the afternoon at about 1000 m height. Fine inspection of the data revealed an oscillation of the sea-breeze with a period about 2 h 47 min. This feature, clearly discernable for 3 days at least, is present in several atmospheric variables such as wind, temperature, not only at the ground but also aloft in the ABL as observed by sodar/RASS and UHF wind profilers. In particular, the mixing height Zi deduced from UHF profilers observations is affected also by the same periodicity. This pulsated sea-breeze is observed principally above Marseille and, at the northern and eastern shores of the Berre pond. In summary, the periodic intrusion over land of cool marine air modifies the structure of the ABL in the vicinity of the coast from the point of view of stability, turbulent motions and pollutants concentration. An explanation of the source of this pulsated sea-breeze is suggested.
Topics: Sea breeze (59%), SODAR (53%), Planetary boundary layer (51%)

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Investigation on the ne structure of sea breeze during
ESCOMPTE experiment
V. Puygrenier, Fabienne Lohou, Bernard Campistron, F. Saïd, G. Pigeon, B.
Bénech, Dominique Serça
To cite this version:
V. Puygrenier, Fabienne Lohou, Bernard Campistron, F. Saïd, G. Pigeon, et al.. Investigation on the
ne structure of sea breeze during ESCOMPTE experiment. Atmospheric Research, Elsevier, 2005,
74 (1-4), pp.329-353. �10.1016/j.atmosres.2004.06.011�. �hal-00135874�

Investigation on the fine structure of sea-breeze
during ESCOMPTE experiment
V. Puygrenier
a,
*
, F. Lohou
a
, B. Campistron
a
,F.SaRd
a
,
G. Pigeon
b
,B.Be´nech
a
, D. Serc¸a
a
a
Laboratoire d’Ae´rologie, Centre de Recherches Atmosphe´riques, UMR 5560 CNRS/UPS,
65300 Lannemezan, France
b
Me´te´o France, Centre National de Recherches Me´te´orologiques, Toulouse, France
Surface and remote-sensing instruments deployed during ESCOMPTE experiment over the
Marseille area, along the Mediterranean coast, were used to investigate the fine structure of the
atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) during sea-breeze circulation in relation to pollutant transport and
diffusion. Six sea-breeze events are analyzed with a particular focus on 25 June 2001.
Advection of cool and humid marine air over land has a profound influence on the daytime ABL
characteristics. This impact decreases rapidly with the inland distance from the sea. Nearby the coast
(3 km inland), the mixing height Zi rises up to 750 m and falls down after 15:00 (UT) when the
breeze flow reaches its maximum intensity. A more classical evolution of the ABL is observed at
only 11-km inland where Zi culminates in the morning and stabilizes in the afternoon at about 1000
m height.
Fine inspection of the data revealed an oscillation of the sea-breeze with a period about 2 h
47 min. This feature, clearly discernable for 3 days at least, is present in several atmospheric
variables such as wind, temperature, not only at the ground but also aloft in the ABL as observed by
sodar/RASS and UHF wind profilers. In particular, the mixing height Zi deduced from UHF profilers
observations is affected also by the same periodicity. This pulsated sea-breeze is observed principally
above Marseille and, at the northern and eastern shores of the Berre pond.
* Corresponding author. Centre de Recherches Atmosphe´riques, 8 rou te de Lannemezan, 65300
Campistrous, France. Tel.: +33 562406105; fax: +33 562406101.
E-mail address: puyv@aero.obs-mip.fr (V. Puygrenier).
1

In summary, the periodic intrusion over land of cool marine air modifies the structure of the ABL
in the vicinity of the coast from the point of view of stability, turbulent motions and pollutants
concentration. An explanation of the source of this pulsated sea-breeze is suggested.
Keywords: Atmospheric boundary layer; Sea-breeze oscillations; Remote sensing measurements; Pollution
1. Introduction
For evident reasons of commercial exchanges, the most important industrial
complexes and megalopolis are located along maritime coastal region. Under high
pressure conditions, these densely urbanized zones are affected by pollution episodes
during land and sea breeze circulations, which mix continental and maritime air with
very different physical characteristics. A better understanding of these breeze flows is
of primary importance to ameliorate pollution peaks prediction and to evaluate air
quality policy in coastal areas. The international ESCOMPTE campaign was conducted
in summer 2001 to investigate pollutant transport, diffusion and emission in the
Marseille/Berre Mediterranean regio n, one of the most polluted area in France (
http://
medias.obs-mip.fr./Escompte
). The main objective o f ESCOMPTE is to assess
numerical modeling of atmospheric pollution (
Cros et al., 2004). Together with the
ESCOMPTE project, the urban boundary layer (UBL) experiment (
Mestayer et al.,
2004
) deployed specific facilities within Marseille in order to document the fine-scale
urban low-level flow. The wor k presented here is an experimental study focusing on
breeze circulation observed during ESCOMPTE and its influence on the dynamics and
pollution of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL).
The atmospheric baroclinicity induced by the different response of the land and sea
surface to the diurnal cycle of heating and cooling is the source of the breeze circu lation,
roughly transverse to the coast. During daytime, sea-breeze advects cool and humid air
over land whereas during night a reverse flow blows from land to sea. In the standard
description of coastal breeze, this dynamical circulation at low levels is completed by a
return flow seaward or landward at upper levels during the day and the night, respectively.
Finkele et al. (1995) observed such a sea-breeze circulation cell with an instrumented
aircraft. However, they pointed out that days without a return flow in upper levels can
occur. Sea-breeze is a mesoscale phenomenon, which e xtends far over the sea and to
several tens of kilometers inland. For instance,
Simpson et al. (1977) reported several
cases of sea-breeze reaching 100 km inland. The moving leading edge of a sea-breeze, the
separation between maritime and continental air mass, can be considered as a front,
detected by a jump of specific humidity, temperature, wind velocity and wind direction
veering. According to
Simpson et al. (1977), a sea-breeze front is equivalent to a gravity
current const ituted by a head whose depth is about twice the height of the trailing flow.
However,
Yoshikado and Kondo (1989) observed non-frontal sea-breeze cases with no
clear changes of thermodynamical and dynamical parameters.
Coastal zones are marked by sharp surface temperature and roughness change between
land and sea. Convection and mechanical turbulence mix marine and continental air over
2

land, and contribute to the formation of the ABL during the sea-breeze flow. The top of the
ABL (Zi) grows from the coast line up to an equilibrium height inland. This bequilibrium
heightQ corresponds to the height of the inland mixed-layer. The equilibrium height and the
distance from the coast necessary to reach it, varied in different studies. An example of
such variability is presented by
Raynor et al. (1979). They analyzed 28 sea-breeze cases
with intensive aircraft, towers and pilot balloons measurements. The equilibrium heights
ranged from 480 to greater than 900 m and the distances from the coast at which they were
reached, ranged from 5 to 40 km (sometimes greater). Acco rding to the thermal stability
conditions over the sea, the ABL starts growing up at the shoreline either from zero-level
(stable onshore flow) or from the height of the offshore boundary layer (neutral onshore
flow). The impacts of stable and neutral sea-breeze flow on the ABL were largely studied:
Venkatram (1986), Gryning and Batchvarova (1990) for the first ones, and Ka¨llstrand and
Smedman (1997)
and Luhar (1998) for the seconds. Urban areas and complex coastal
geography (ragged shoreline and mountains) also affect the ABL characteristics under sea-
breeze circulation. For example,
Cenedese and Monti (2003) showed that convergence due
to the interaction between the urban heat island and sea-breeze flow, enhances Zi height.
Bastin et al. (2004) observed that the narrowing of the Durance valley accelerates and
deepens the sea-br eeze flow and increases ABL depth. Other studies focused on the
interaction between the sea-breeze and the ABL characteristics in complex geography and
urban areas (
Melas et al., 1995; Levitin and Kambezidis, 1997; Batchvarova et al., 1999;
Liu et al., 2001
).
Mesoscale structure of the sea-breeze circulation and ABL is abundantly described in
the literature. The present paper describes and analyses the pulsated nature of the sea-
breeze observed during the ESCOMPTE experiment. The first part presents briefly the
ESCOMPTE experiment and the instruments used for this work. The second part, which
gives an overview of the meteorological conditions encountered during the campaign,
shows sea-breeze occurrence in this region. A diurnal sea-breeze circulation and its effect
on atmospheric boundary layer is then presented with the example of 25 June 2001. The
third part is devoted to the analysis of the sea-breeze at a smaller temporal-scale in the
vicinity of the coast. The study of 25 June 2001 will be gone into deeper because a 2 h
47 min period oscillation of the sea-breeze flow is clearly observed above Mars eille and in
other sites of ESCOMPTE area. An analysis of several sea-breeze days is also made to
determine the occurrence of this phenomenon for the whole campaign. The last part
discusses on the impact of a pulsated sea-breeze on the coastal low atmosphere of
Marseille from the stability, ABL depth and pollution point of view. An hypothesis on the
source of this particular sea-breeze behavior is proposed based on vertical motions
measurements made above Marseille city.
2. ESCOMPTE and UBL experim ents (13 June –14 July 2001)
This study concerns a coastal zone of the ESCOMPTE domain, which includes the
Greater Marseille. Alps foothills reaching 500 m in the north and east of the domain,
ragged shoreline and the Berre pond in the central part of the domain make the topography
of this region particularly complex (cf.
Fig. 1, diagram a). Marseille itself is surrounded by
3

Fig. 1. (a) Part of ESCOMPTE domain with ground elevation above 200 m; contours are every 100 m. The square
delineates roughly the Great Marseille. (b) Marseille with ground elevation above 100 m; contours are every 100
m. Ferry route is indicated by the line with its location at 16:30, 16:45 and 17:00 (UT). The dashed line allows to
locate easily the stations used in
Fig. 9. (On both diagrams, instrumented sites are mentioned by acronyms (see
Table 1) and hatched area represents the extent of Marseille agglomeration).
4

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