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The Detection of Mixed Layer Depth and Entrainment Zone Thickness from Lidar Backscatter Profiles

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  • 1 Atmospheric Science Programme, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • | 2 Institute for Atmospheric Physics, IFA-CNR, Rome, Italy
  • | 3 Air Quality Research Branch, Atmospheric Environment Service, Egbert, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

A new method is presented for the extraction of mixed layer depth and entrainment zone thickness from lidar, backscatter ratio profiles. The method is based on fitting a four parameter, idealized profile to observed profiles. Optimization of the fit yields values for mixed layer depth and entrainment zone thickness. Since the fitting procedure is based on the entire measured profile, it has a robustness not found in methods based on critical backscatter or backscatter gradient. The method is tested by application to four measured profiles and three synthetic profiles. The sets of profiles include some that are very demanding because of small mixed layer to upper layer backscatter ratio contrasts, or have plumes of high backscatter imbedded in mixed and upper layers. It is shown that the method is robust and simple to implement, even for a sequence of independent profiles.

Corresponding author address: Dr. D. G. Steyn, Atmospheric Science Programme, Department of Geography and Oceanography, 217-1984 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2, Canada.

Email: douw@geog.ubc.ca

Abstract

A new method is presented for the extraction of mixed layer depth and entrainment zone thickness from lidar, backscatter ratio profiles. The method is based on fitting a four parameter, idealized profile to observed profiles. Optimization of the fit yields values for mixed layer depth and entrainment zone thickness. Since the fitting procedure is based on the entire measured profile, it has a robustness not found in methods based on critical backscatter or backscatter gradient. The method is tested by application to four measured profiles and three synthetic profiles. The sets of profiles include some that are very demanding because of small mixed layer to upper layer backscatter ratio contrasts, or have plumes of high backscatter imbedded in mixed and upper layers. It is shown that the method is robust and simple to implement, even for a sequence of independent profiles.

Corresponding author address: Dr. D. G. Steyn, Atmospheric Science Programme, Department of Geography and Oceanography, 217-1984 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2, Canada.

Email: douw@geog.ubc.ca

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