During the months of June and July 1987, the Marine Stratocumulus Intensive Field Observation Experiment of First ISCCP Regional Experiment (FIRE) was conducted in the Southern California offshore area in the vicinity of San Nicolas Island (SNI). The Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC) airborne platform was utilized during FIRE to investigate the upwind low level horizontal variability of the marine boundary layer structure to determine the representativeness of SNI-based measurements to upwind open ocean conditions. The NOSC airborne meteorological platform made three flights during FIRE, two during clear sky conditions (19 and 23 July), and one during two stratus conditions (15 July). The boundary layer structure variations associated with the stratus clouds of 15 July 1987 are discussed. Profiles of air temperature (AT) and relative humidity (RH) taken 'at' and 'upwind' of SNI do show differences between the so-called open ocean conditions and those taken near the island. However, the observed difference cannot be uniquely identified to island effects, especially since the upwind fluctuations of AT and RH bound the SNI measurements. Total optical depths measures at SNI do not appear to be greatly affected by any surface based aerosol effects created by the island and could therefore realistically represent open ocean conditions. However, if one were to use the SNI aerosol measurements to predict ship to ship EO propagation conditions, significant errors could be introduced due to the increased number of surface aerosols observed near SNI which may not be, and were not, characteristic of open ocean conditions. Sea surface temperature measurements taken at the island will not, in general, represent those upwind open ocean conditions. Also, since CTT's varied appreciably along the upwind radials, measurements of CTT over the island may not be representative of actual open ocean CTT's.
METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
NASA, Langley Research Center, FIRE Science Results, 1988; p 359-363