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

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
10 Feb 2017
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.
Target categorization of aerosol and clouds by continuous multiwavelength-polarization lidar measurements
Holger Baars, Patric Seifert, Ronny Engelmann, and Ulla Wandinger Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Permoser Str. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
Abstract. Absolute calibrated signals at 532 and 1064 nm and the depolarization ratio from a multiwavelength lidar are used to categorize primary aerosol but also clouds in high temporal and spatial resolution. Automatically derived particle backscatter coefficient profiles in low temporal resolution (30 min) are applied to calibrate the lidar signals. From these calibrated lidar signals, new atmospheric parameters in temporally high resolution (quasi particle backscatter coefficient) are derived. By using thresholds obtained from multi-year, multi-site EARLINET measurements, four aerosol classes (small; large, spherical; large, non-spherical; mixed, partly non-spherical) and several cloud classes (liquid, ice) are defined. Thus, particles are classified by their physical feature (shape and size) instead of a classification by source.

The methodology is applied to two months of continuous observations (24 hours, 7 days a week) with the multiwavelength-Raman-polarization lidar PollyXT during the HOPE campaign in spring 2013. Cloudnet equipment was operated continuously directly next to the lidar and is used for comparison. By discussing three 24-h case studies, it is shown that the aerosol discrimination is very feasible and informative and gives a good complement to the Cloudnet target categorization. By analyzing the entire HOPE campaign, almost 1 million pixel (5 min times 30 m) could be successfully classified from the two months data set with the newly developed tool. We find that the majority of the aerosol, trapped in the planetary boundary layer (PBL), were small particles as expected for a heavily populated and industrialized area. Large, spherical aerosol was observed mostly at the top of the PBL and close to the identified cloud bases indicating the importance of hygroscopic growth of the particles at high relative humidity. Interestingly, it is found that on several days non-spherical particles were dispersed into the atmosphere from ground.

Citation: Baars, H., Seifert, P., Engelmann, R., and Wandinger, U.: Target categorization of aerosol and clouds by continuous multiwavelength-polarization lidar measurements, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Holger Baars et al.
Holger Baars et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
A novel technique for multiwavelength lidar was introduced to derive information on the particle type in the tropospheric profile in analogy to the Cloudnet target classification. Four different aerosol classes and several cloud classes are defined. The technique is based on absolute calibrated lidar signals in temporally high resolution and thus is also well suited for aerosol-cloud-interaction studies. The approach was applied on a two- month data set of the HOPE campaign in western Germany.
A novel technique for multiwavelength lidar was introduced to derive information on the particle...