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


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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John T. Sullivan, Thomas J. McGee, Russell DeYoung, Laurence W. Twigg, Grant K. Sumnicht, Denis Pliutau, Travis Knepp, and William Carrion


During a 2-week period in May 2014, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center Tropospheric Ozone Differential Absorption Lidar (GSFC TROPOZ DIAL) was situated near the NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) Mobile Ozone Lidar (LMOL) and made simultaneous measurements for a continuous 15-h observation period in which six separate ozonesondes were launched to provide reference ozone profiles. Although each of these campaign-ready lidars has very different transmitter and receiver components, they produced very similar ozone profiles, which were mostly within 10% of each other and the ozonesondes. The observed column averages as compared to the ozonesondes also agree well and are within 8% of each other. A robust uncertainty analysis was performed, and the results indicate that there is no statistically significant systematic bias between the TROPOZ and LMOL instruments. With the extended measurements and ozonesonde launches, this intercomparison has yielded an in-depth evaluation of the precision and accuracy of the two new lidars. This intercomparison is also the first (to the best of the authors’ knowledge) reported measurement intercomparison of two ground-based tropospheric ozone lidar systems within the United States.

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John T. Sullivan, Timothy Berkoff, Guillaume Gronoff, Travis Knepp, Margaret Pippin, Danette Allen, Laurence Twigg, Robert Swap, Maria Tzortziou, Anne M. Thompson, Ryan M. Stauffer, Glenn M. Wolfe, James Flynn, Sally E. Pusede, Laura M. Judd, William Moore, Barry D. Baker, Jay Al-Saadi, and Thomas J. McGee


Coastal regions have historically represented a significant challenge for air quality investigations because of water–land boundary transition characteristics and a paucity of measurements available over water. Prior studies have identified the formation of high levels of ozone over water bodies, such as the Chesapeake Bay, that can potentially recirculate back over land to significantly impact populated areas. Earth-observing satellites and forecast models face challenges in capturing the coastal transition zone where small-scale meteorological dynamics are complex and large changes in pollutants can occur on very short spatial and temporal scales. An observation strategy is presented to synchronously measure pollutants “over land” and “over water” to provide a more complete picture of chemical gradients across coastal boundaries for both the needs of state and local environmental management and new remote sensing platforms. Intensive vertical profile information from ozone lidar systems and ozonesondes, obtained at two main sites, one over land and the other over water, are complemented by remote sensing and in situ observations of air quality from ground-based, airborne (both personned and unpersonned), and shipborne platforms. These observations, coupled with reliable chemical transport simulations, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Air Quality Forecast Capability (NAQFC), are expected to lead to a more fully characterized and complete land–water interaction observing system that can be used to assess future geostationary air quality instruments, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO), and current low-Earth-orbiting satellites, such as the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5 Precursor (S5-P) with its Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI).

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