The marine boundary layer height over the western north pacific based on GPS radio occultation, island soundings, and numerical models

Fang Ching Chien*, Jing Shan Hong, Ying Hwa Kuo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper estimates marine boundary layer height (MBLH) over the western North Pacific (WNP) based on Global Positioning System Radio Occultation (GPS-RO) profiles from the Formosa Satellite Mission 3 (FORMOSAT-3)/Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) satellites, island soundings, and numerical models. The seasonally-averaged MBLHs computed from nine years (2007–2015) of GPS-RO data are inter-compared with those obtained from sounding observations at 15 island stations and from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Reanalysis (ERA-Interim) and National Centers for Environmental Prediction Global Forecast System (NCEP GFS) data over the WNP from 2012 to 2015. It is found that the MBLH using nine years of GPS-RO data is smoother and more consistent with that obtained from sounding observations than is the MBLH using four years of GPS-RO data in a previous study. In winter, higher MBLHs are found around the subtropical latitudes and over oceans east of Japan, which are approximately located within the paths of the North Equatorial Current and the Kuroshio Current. The MBLH is also significantly higher in winter than in summer over the WNP. The above MBLH pattern is generally similar to those obtained from the analysis data of the ERA-Interim and NCEP GFS, but the heights are about 200 m higher. The verification with soundings suggests that the ERA-Interim has a better MBLH estimation than the NCEP GFS. Thus, the MBLH distributions obtained from both the nine-year GPS-RO and the ERA-Interim data can represent well the climatological MBLH over the WNP, but the heights should be adjusted about 30 m lower for the former and ~200 m higher for the latter. A positive correlation between the MBLH and the instability of the lower atmosphere exists over large near-shore areas of the WNP, where cold air can move over warm oceans from the land in winter, resulting in an increase in lower-atmospheric instability and providing favorable conditions for convection to yield a higher MBLH. During summer, the lower-atmospheric instability becomes smaller and the MBLH is thus lower over near-shore oceans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1


  • GPS radio occultation
  • Marine boundary layer height

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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