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 Delgado51Department 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
Received: 11 Oct 2016 – Accepted for review: 14 Oct 2016 – Discussion started: 17 Oct 2016
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.
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.