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Kotthaus, Simone; Haeffelin, Martial; Drouin, Marc-Antoine; Dupont, Jean-Charles; Grimmond, Sue; Haefele, Alexander; Hervo, Maxime; Poltera, Yann and Wiegner, Matthias (2020): Tailored Algorithms for the Detection of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer Height from Common Automatic Lidars and Ceilometers (ALC). In: Remote Sensing, Vol. 12, No. 19, 3259

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A detailed understanding of atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) processes is key to improve forecasting of pollution dispersion and cloud dynamics in the context of future climate scenarios. International networks of automatic lidars and ceilometers (ALC) are gathering valuable data that allow for the height of the ABL and its sublayers to be derived in near real time. A new generation of advanced methods to automatically detect the ABL heights now exist. However, diversity in ALC models means these algorithms need to be tailored to instrument-specific capabilities. Here, the advanced algorithm STRATfinder is presented for application to high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) ALC observations, and results are compared to an automatic algorithm designed for low-SNR measurements (CABAM). The two algorithms are evaluated for application in an operational network setting. Results indicate that the ABL heights derived from low-SNR ALC have increased uncertainty during daytime deep convection, while high-SNR observations can have slightly reduced capabilities in detecting shallow nocturnal layers. Agreement between the ALC-based methods is similar when either is compared to the ABL heights derived from temperature profile data. The two independent methods describe very similar average diurnal and seasonal variations. Hence, high-quality products of ABL heights may soon become possible at national and continental scales.

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