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Improved retrieval of cloud base heights from ceilometer using a non-standard instrument method

Wang, Yang and Zhao, Chuanfeng and Dong, Zipeng and Li, Zhanqing and Hu, Shuzhen and Chen, Tianmeng and Tao, Fa and Wang, Yuzhao (2018) Improved retrieval of cloud base heights from ceilometer using a non-standard instrument method. Atmospheric Research, 202 . pp. 148-155. ISSN 0169-8095.

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Cloud-base height (CBH) is a basic cloud parameter but has not been measured accurately, especially under polluted conditions due to the interference of aerosol. Taking advantage of a comprehensive field experiment in northern China in which a variety of advanced cloud probing instruments were operated, different methods of detecting CBH are assessed. The Micro-Pulse Lidar (MPL) and the Vaisala ceilometer (CL51) provided two types of backscattered profiles. The latter has been employed widely as a standard means of measuring CBH using the manufacturer's operational algorithm to generate standard CBH products (CL51 MAN) whose quality is rigorously assessed here, in comparison with a research algorithm that we developed named value distribution equalization (VDE) algorithm. It was applied to both the profiles of lidar backscattering data from the two instruments. The VDE algorithm is found to produce more accurate estimates of CBH for both instruments and can cope with heavy aerosol loading conditions well. By contrast, CL51 MAN overestimates CBH by 400 m and misses many low level clouds under such conditions. These findings are important given that CL51 has been adopted operationally by many meteorological stations in China.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Wang, Yang0000-0003-4492-2974
Zhao, Chuanfeng0000-0002-5196-3996
Li, Zhanqing0000-0001-6737-382X
Additional Information:© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Received 13 September 2017, Revised 13 November 2017, Accepted 14 November 2017, Available online 15 November 2017.
Subject Keywords:Cloud base height; Ceilometer; Micro-pulse lidar; Value distribution equalization
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171117-073054200
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Official Citation:Yang Wang, Chuanfeng Zhao, Zipeng Dong, Zhanqing Li, Shuzhen Hu, Tianmeng Chen, Fa Tao, Yuzhao Wang, Improved retrieval of cloud base heights from ceilometer using a non-standard instrument method, In Atmospheric Research, Volume 202, 2018, Pages 148-155, ISSN 0169-8095, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83276
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Nov 2017 15:51
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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