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  • Author or Editor: Barry Lefer x
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Christine L. Haman, Barry Lefer, and Gary A. Morris

Abstract

Boundary layer height is estimated during a 21-month period in Houston, Texas, using continuous ceilometer observations and the minimum-gradient method. A comparison with over 60 radiosondes indicates overall agreement between ceilometer- and radiosonde-estimated PBL and residual layer heights. Additionally, the ceilometer-estimated PBL heights agree well with 31 vertical profiles of ozone. Difficulty detecting the PBL height occurs immediately following a frontal system with precipitation, during periods with high wind speeds, and in the early evening when convection is weakening, a new stable surface layer is forming, and the lofted aerosols detected by the lidar do not represent the PBL. Long-term diurnal observations of the PBL height indicate nocturnal PBL heights range from approximately 100 to 300 m throughout the year, while the convective PBL displays more seasonal and daily variability typically ranging from 1100 m in the winter to 2000 m in the summer.

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Vanessa Caicedo, Ruben Delgado, Ricardo Sakai, Travis Knepp, David Williams, Kevin Cavender, Barry Lefer, and James Szykman

Abstract

A unique automated planetary boundary layer (PBL) retrieval algorithm is proposed as a common cross-platform method for use with commercially available ceilometers for implementation under the redesigned U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations program. This algorithm addresses instrument signal quality and screens for precipitation and cloud layers before the implementation of the retrieval method using the Haar wavelet covariance transform. Layer attribution for the PBL height is supported with the use of continuation and time-tracking parameters, and uncertainties are calculated for individual PBL height retrievals. Commercial ceilometer retrievals are tested against radiosonde PBL height and cloud-base height during morning and late-afternoon transition times, critical to air quality model prediction and when retrieval algorithms struggle to identify PBL heights. A total of 58 radiosonde profiles were used, and retrievals for nocturnal stable layers, residual layers, and mixing layers were assessed. Overall good agreement was found for all comparisons, with one system showing limitations for the cases of nighttime surface stable layers and daytime mixing layer. It is recommended that nighttime shallow stable-layer retrievals be performed with a recommended minimum height or with additional verification. Retrievals of residual-layer heights and mixing-layer comparisons revealed overall good correlations with radiosonde heights (square of correlation coefficients r 2 ranging from 0.89 to 0.96, and bias ranging from approximately −131 to +63 m for the residual layer and r 2 from 0.88 to 0.97 and bias from −119 to +101 m for the mixing layer).

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Gary A. Morris, Walter D. Komhyr, Jun Hirokawa, James Flynn, Barry Lefer, Nicholay Krotkov, and Fong Ngan

Abstract

This paper reports on the development of a new technique for inexpensive measurements of SO2 profiles using a modified dual-ozonesonde instrument payload. The presence of SO2 interferes with the standard electrochemical cell (ECC) ozonesonde measurement, resulting in −1 molecule of O3 reported for each molecule of SO2 present (provided [O3] > [SO2]). In laboratory tests, an SO2 filter made with CrO3 placed on the inlet side of the sonde removes nearly 100% of the SO2 present for concentrations up to 60 ppbv and remained effective after exposure to 2.8 × 1016 molecules of SO2 [equivalent to a column ∼150 DU (1 DU = 2.69 × 1020 molecules m−2)]. Flying two ECC instruments on the same payload with one filtered and the other unfiltered yields SO2 profiles, inferred by subtraction. Laboratory tests and field experience suggest an SO2 detection limit of ∼3 pbb with profiles valid from the surface to the ozonopause [i.e., ∼(8–10 km)]. Two example profiles demonstrate the success of this technique for both volcanic and industrial plumes.

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