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Simone Lolli and Paolo Di Girolamo


Developing a reliable cost-effective instrument network for data measurement is a challenging task for agency decisionmakers. A simple way to fully characterize the performances of an instrument that also considers economical and operational factors—price, maintenance cost, lifetime, etc.—currently does not exist. Through principal component analysis, a method is developed to build a composite index that assigns a single score to each instrument, taking into account all the scientific, economic, and operational aspects. This index will then represent solid help in building and optimizing a cost-effective network, bridging the gap between two very different worlds: the scientific need for precision and economic constraints.

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Paolo Di Girolamo, Donato Summa, and Rossella Ferretti


The University of Basilicata Raman lidar system (BASIL) is operational in Potenza, Italy, and it is capable of performing high-resolution and accurate measurements of atmospheric temperature and water vapor based on the application of the rotational and vibrational Raman lidar techniques in the ultraviolet region. BASIL was recently involved in the 2005 International Lindenberg campaign for Assessment of Humidity and Cloud Profiling Systems and Its Impact on High-Resolution Modeling (LAUNCH 2005) experiment held from 12 September to 31 October 2005. A thorough description of the technical characteristics, measurement capabilities, and performances of BASIL is given in this paper. Measurements were continuously run between 1 and 3 October 2005, covering a dry stratospheric intrusion episode associated with a tropopause folding event. The measurements in this paper represent the first simultaneous Raman lidar measurements of atmospheric temperature, water vapor mixing ratio, and thus relative humidity reported for an extensive observation period (32 h).

The use of water vapor to trace intruded stratospheric air allows the clear identification of a dry structure (∼1 km thick) originating in the stratosphere and descending in the free troposphere down to ∼3 km. A similar feature is present in the temperature field, with lower temperature values detected within the dry-air tongue. Relative humidity measurements reveal values as small as 0.5%–1% within the intruded air. The stratospheric origin of the observed dry layer has been verified by the application of a Lagrangian trajectory model. The subsidence of the intruding heavy dry air may be responsible for the gravity wave activity observed beneath the dry layer.

Lidar measurements have been compared with the output of both the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (PSU–NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5) and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) global model. Comparisons in terms of water vapor reveal the capability of MM5 to reproduce the dynamical structures associated with the stratospheric intrusion episode and to simulate the deep penetration into the troposphere of the dry intruded layer. Moreover, lidar measurements of potential temperature are compared with MM5 output, whereas potential vorticities from both the ECMWF model and MM5 are compared with estimates obtained combining MM5 model vorticity and lidar measurements of potential temperature.

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Andreas Behrendt, Volker Wulfmeyer, Hans-Stefan Bauer, Thorsten Schaberl, Paolo Di Girolamo, Donato Summa, Christoph Kiemle, Gerhard Ehret, David N. Whiteman, Belay B. Demoz, Edward V. Browell, Syed Ismail, Richard Ferrare, Susan Kooi, and Junhong Wang


The water vapor data measured with airborne and ground-based lidar systems during the International H2O Project (IHOP_2002), which took place in the Southern Great Plains during 13 May–25 June 2002 were investigated. So far, the data collected during IHOP_2002 provide the largest set of state-of-the-art water vapor lidar data measured in a field campaign. In this first of two companion papers, intercomparisons between the scanning Raman lidar (SRL) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and two airborne systems are discussed. There are 9 intercomparisons possible between SRL and the differential absorption lidar (DIAL) of Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), while there are 10 intercomparisons between SRL and the Lidar Atmospheric Sensing Experiment (LASE) of the NASA Langley Research Center. Mean biases of (−0.30 ± 0.25) g kg−1 or −4.3% ± 3.2% for SRL compared to DLR DIAL (DLR DIAL drier) and (0.16 ± 0.31) g kg−1 or 5.3% ± 5.1% for SRL compared to LASE (LASE wetter) in the height range of 1.3–3.8 km above sea level (450–2950 m above ground level at the SRL site) were found. Putting equal weight on the data reliability of the three instruments, these results yield relative bias values of −4.6%, −0.4%, and +5.0% for DLR DIAL, SRL, and LASE, respectively. Furthermore, measurements of the Snow White (SW) chilled-mirror hygrometer radiosonde were compared with lidar data. For the four comparisons possible between SW radiosondes and SRL, an overall bias of (−0.27 ± 0.30) g kg−1 or −3.2% ± 4.5% of SW compared to SRL (SW drier) again for 1.3–3.8 km above sea level was found. Because it is a challenging effort to reach an accuracy of humidity measurements down to the ∼5% level, the overall results are very satisfactory and confirm the high and stable performance of the instruments and the low noise errors of each profile.

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