High-resolution Beijing mesosphere–stratosphere–troposphere (MST) radar detection of tropopause structure and variability over Xianghe (39.75° N, 116.96° E), China
As a result of partial specular reflection from the atmospheric stable layer, the radar tropopause (RT) can simply and directly be detected by VHF radars with vertical incidence. Here, the Beijing mesosphere–stratosphere–troposphere (MST) radar measurements are used to investigate the structure and the variabilities in the tropopause in Xianghe, China, with a temporal resolution of 0.5 h from November 2011 to May 2017. The high-resolution radar-derived tropopause is compared with the thermal lapse-rate tropopause (LRT) that is defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) criterion from twice-daily radiosonde soundings and with the dynamical potential vorticity tropopause (PVT) that is defined as the height of the 2 PVU (PVU – potential vorticity units; 1 PVU = 106 m2 s−1 K kg−1) surface. We only consider tropopauses below 16 km in this study because of limitations with the radar system. During all the seasons, the RT and the LRT in altitude agree well with each other, with a correlation coefficient of ≥0.74. Statistically, weaker (higher) tropopause sharpness seems to contribute to larger (smaller) difference between the RT and the LRT in altitude. The RT agrees well with the PVT in altitude during winter and spring, with a correlation coefficient of ≥0.72, while the correlation coefficient in summer is only 0.33. As expected, the monthly mean RT and LRT height both show seasonal variations. Lomb–Scargle periodograms show that the tropopause exhibits obvious diurnal variation throughout the seasons, whereas the semidiurnal oscillations are rare and are occasionally observed during summer and later spring. Our study shows the potential of the Beijing MST radar to determine the tropopause height as well as present its diurnal oscillations.