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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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doi:10.5194/amt-2016-340
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
17 Oct 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Comparison of aerosol LIDAR retrieval methods for boundary layer height detection using ceilometer backscatter data
Vanessa Caicedo1, Bernhard Rappenglueck1, Barry Lefer2, Gary Morris3, Daniel Toledo4, and Ruben Delgado5 1Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
2Tropospheric Composition Program, Earth Science Division, NASA Headquarters,Washington, DC, USA
3School of Natural Sciences, Saint Edward’s University,Austin, TX, USA
4Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
5Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore Country, Baltimore, MD, USA
Abstract. Three algorithms for estimating the boundary layer heights are assessed: an aerosol gradient method, a cluster analysis method, and a Haar wavelet method. Over 40 daytime radiosonde profiles are used to compare aerosol backscatter boundary layer heights retrieved by a Vaisala CL31 ceilometer. Overall good agreement between radiosonde and aerosol derived boundary layer heights was found for all methods. The cluster method was found to be particularly sensitive to noise in ceilometer signals and lofted aerosol layers (48.8 % of comparisons), while the gradient method showed limitations in low aerosol backscatter conditions. The Haar Wavelet method demonstrating to be the most robust only showing limitations (22.5 % of all observations) due to the basic assumptions used to derive BLH from aerosol backscatter concentrations rather than errors with the algorithm itself. Disagreement between thermodynamically and aerosol derived boundary layer heights and the methodology used to estimate these heights was seen with all methods.

Citation: Caicedo, V., Rappenglueck, B., Lefer, B., Morris, G., Toledo, D., and Delgado, R.: Comparison of aerosol LIDAR retrieval methods for boundary layer height detection using ceilometer backscatter data, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2016-340, in review, 2016.
Vanessa Caicedo et al.
Vanessa Caicedo et al.

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Short summary
The importance of the boundary layer height and its retrieval is studied here by evaluating three algorithms for estimating the boundary layer height using LIDAR measurements. Radiosonde profiles are used to compare aerosol backscatter boundary layer heights. Overall good agreement between radiosonde and aerosol boundary layer heights was found for all methods with specific limitations to each method discussed. A recommended method is given for the aerosol retrieval of the boundary layer height.
The importance of the boundary layer height and its retrieval is studied here by evaluating...
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