Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/ar-2024-3
https://doi.org/10.5194/ar-2024-3
29 Jan 2024
 | 29 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AR.

Comparison of scanning aerosol LIDAR and in-situ measurements of aerosol physical properties and boundary layer heights

Hengheng Zhang, Christian Rolf, Ralf Tillmann, Christian Wesolek, Frank Gunther Wienhold, Thomas Leisner, and Harald Saathoff

Abstract. The spatial-temporal distribution of aerosol particles in the atmosphere has a great impact on radiative transfer, clouds, and air quality. Modern remote sensing methods as well as airborne in-situ measurements by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or balloons are suitable tools to improve our understanding of the role of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. To validate the measurement capabilities of three relatively new measurement systems and to bridge the gaps that are often encountered between remote sensing and in-situ observation as well as to investigate aerosol particles in and above the boundary layer, we conducted two measurement campaigns and collected a comprehensive dataset employing a scanning aerosol LIDAR, a balloon-borne radiosonde with the Compact Optical Backscatter Aerosol Detector (COBALD), an optical particle counter (OPC) on a UAV, as well as a comprehensive set of ground-based instruments. The extinction coefficients calculated from near-ground-level aerosol size distributions measured in-situ are well correlated with those retrieved from LIDAR measurements with a slope of 1.037 ± 0.015 and a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.878, respectively. Vertical profiles measured by an OPC-N3 on a UAV show similar vertical particle distributions and boundary layer heights as LIDAR measurements. However, the sensor, OPC-N3, shows a larger variability in aerosol backscatter coefficient measurements with a Pearson correlation coefficient of only 0.241. In contrast, the COBALD data from a balloon flight are well correlated with LIDAR-derived backscatter data from the near ground level up to the stratosphere with a slope of 1.063 ±  0.016 and a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.925, respectively. This consistency between LIDAR and COBALD data reflects a good data quality of both methods and proves that LIDAR can provide reliable and spatial distributions of aerosol particles with high spatial and temporal resolutions. This study shows that the scanning LIDAR has the capability to retrieve backscatter coefficients near ground level (from 25 m to 50 m above ground level) when it conducts horizontal measurement which isn't possible for vertically pointing LIDAR. These near-ground-level retrievals compare well with ground-level in-situ measurements. In addition, in-situ measurements on the balloon and UAV validated scanning LIDAR retrievals within and above the boundary layer. The scanning aerosol LIDAR allows us to measure aerosol particle distributions and profiles from the ground level to the stratosphere with an accuracy equal or better than in-situ measurements and with a similar spatial resolution.

Hengheng Zhang, Christian Rolf, Ralf Tillmann, Christian Wesolek, Frank Gunther Wienhold, Thomas Leisner, and Harald Saathoff

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on ar-2024-3', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on ar-2024-3', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Feb 2024
Hengheng Zhang, Christian Rolf, Ralf Tillmann, Christian Wesolek, Frank Gunther Wienhold, Thomas Leisner, and Harald Saathoff
Hengheng Zhang, Christian Rolf, Ralf Tillmann, Christian Wesolek, Frank Gunther Wienhold, Thomas Leisner, and Harald Saathoff

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Short summary
Our study employs advanced tools, including scanning LIDAR, balloons, and UAVs, to explore aerosol particles in the atmosphere. The scanning LIDAR offers distinctive near-ground-level insights, enriching our comprehension of aerosol distribution from ground level to the free troposphere. This research provides valuable data for comparing remote sensing and in-situ aerosol measurements, advancing our understanding of aerosol impacts on radiative transfer, clouds, and air quality.
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