Nocturnal inversions over the Central Plains of the United States (1960-2009)
Galvin, Karen Marie
AdvisorDixon, Grady P.
A study of nocturnal inversions in the Central Plains of the United States was conducted using 15 National Weather Service stations. Radiosonde data from 1960 to 2007 were analyzed in order to assess any regional trends in inversion characteristics. Previous research suggests that the urban heat effect counteracts the inversion effect and, therefore, a change in inversion characteristics was expected. Yearly, seasonal, and monthly statistical analyses revealed few trends in inversion frequency, intensity, and depth. Using statistical and graphical analyses, no overarching changes in nocturnal inversions were observable over the Central Plains during this time. While not explicitly the intention of this study, one consistent result was displayed through the average soundings: an overall atmospheric warming (from near surface to 500 mb) existed at thirteen of the fifteen sites.