Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 6215-6225, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-6215-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Technical note
22 May 2017
Technical note: Boundary layer height determination from lidar for improving air pollution episode modeling: development of new algorithm and evaluation
Ting Yang1, Zifa Wang1, Wei Zhang2, Alex Gbaguidi1, Nobuo Sugimoto3, Xiquan Wang1, Ichiro Matsui3, and Yele Sun1 1State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
2Aviation Meteorological Center of China, Beijing 100021, China
3National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba, 305-8506, Japan
Abstract. Predicting air pollution events in the low atmosphere over megacities requires a thorough understanding of the tropospheric dynamics and chemical processes, involving, notably, continuous and accurate determination of the boundary layer height (BLH). Through intensive observations experimented over Beijing (China) and an exhaustive evaluation of existing algorithms applied to the BLH determination, persistent critical limitations are noticed, in particular during polluted episodes. Basically, under weak thermal convection with high aerosol loading, none of the retrieval algorithms is able to fully capture the diurnal cycle of the BLH due to insufficient vertical mixing of pollutants in the boundary layer associated with the impact of gravity waves on the tropospheric structure. Consequently, a new approach based on gravity wave theory (the cubic root gradient method: CRGM) is developed to overcome such weakness and accurately reproduce the fluctuations of the BLH under various atmospheric pollution conditions. Comprehensive evaluation of CRGM highlights its high performance in determining BLH from lidar. In comparison with the existing retrieval algorithms, CRGM potentially reduces related computational uncertainties and errors from BLH determination (strong increase of correlation coefficient from 0.44 to 0.91 and significant decreases of the root mean square error from 643 to 142 m). Such a newly developed technique is undoubtedly expected to contribute to improving the accuracy of air quality modeling and forecasting systems.

Citation: Yang, T., Wang, Z., Zhang, W., Gbaguidi, A., Sugimoto, N., Wang, X., Matsui, I., and Sun, Y.: Technical note: Boundary layer height determination from lidar for improving air pollution episode modeling: development of new algorithm and evaluation, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 6215-6225, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-6215-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Predicting air pollution events over megacities requires, notably, continuous and accurate determination of the boundary layer height (BLH). Based on gravity wave theory, a new approach (CRGM) is developed to overcome existing algorithms' weakness in order to accurately reproduce the fluctuations of the BLH under various atmospheric pollution conditions from lidar observation. Comprehensive evaluation highlights strong effectiveness of this new method.
Predicting air pollution events over megacities requires, notably, continuous and accurate...
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