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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 4 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1609-1622, 2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 26 Apr 2017

Research article | 26 Apr 2017

Comparison of aerosol lidar retrieval methods for boundary layer height detection using ceilometer aerosol backscatter data

Vanessa Caicedo1, Bernhard Rappenglück1, Barry Lefer2, Gary Morris3, Daniel Toledo4, and Ruben Delgado5 Vanessa Caicedo et al.
  • 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 clear-sky 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 was demonstrated to be the most robust, only showing limitations in 22.5% of all observations. Occasional differences between thermodynamically and aerosol-derived boundary layer heights were observed.

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Three methods for estimating the boundary layer height using aerosol backscatter measurements are evaluated here. Radiosonde profiles are used to evaluate aerosol-backscatter-derived boundary layer heights. Overall good agreement between radiosonde and all aerosol-derived boundary layer heights was found, and specific limitations to each method are discussed. A recommended method is given for future aerosol backscatter retrieval of the boundary layer height.
Three methods for estimating the boundary layer height using aerosol backscatter measurements...