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Volume for pollution dispersion: London’s atmospheric boundary layer during ClearfLo observed with two ground-based lidar types

Kotthaus, S., Halios, C. H., Barlow, J. F. and Grimmond, C. S. B. ORCID: (2018) Volume for pollution dispersion: London’s atmospheric boundary layer during ClearfLo observed with two ground-based lidar types. Atmospheric Environment, 190. pp. 401-414. ISSN 1352-2310

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2018.06.042


In urban areas with high air pollution emissions, the boundary layer volume within which gases and particles are diluted is critical to air quality impacts. With advances in ground-based remote sensing technologies and data processing algorithms, observations of layers forming the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) are becoming increasingly available at high temporal resolution. Here, mixing height (MH) estimates determined from turbulence measurements of Doppler lidars and aerosol derived mixed layer height (MLH) based on automatic lidar and ceilometer (ALC) observations within the centre of London are assessed. While MH uncertainty increases with shorter duration of vertical stare sampling within the Doppler lidar scan pattern, instrument-related noise of the ALC may result in large MLH errors due to the challenging task of layer attribution. However, when long time series are assessed most of the algorithm- and instrument-related uncertainties average out and therefore become less critical to overall climatological analyses. Systematic differences occur in nocturnal MH from two nearby (3-4 km) sites but MLH estimates at both sites generally agree with MH obtained at the denser urban setting. During daytime, most spatial variations in ABL structure induced by synoptic conditions or land cover heterogeneity at this scale do not exceed measurement uncertainty. Agreement between MH and MLH is clearly affected by ABL aerosol content and cloud 28 conditions. Discrepancies increase with cloud complexity. On average, MH rises ahead of MLH during the morning growth period and peaks earlier in the day. There is a faster afternoon decay of MLH so that MLH and MH converge again around sunset and often have similar nocturnal values. Results demonstrate that turbulence-derived MH and aerosol-derived MLH should not be used inter32 changeably for purposes of model evaluation, interpretation of surface air quality observations or 33 initialisation of chemical transport models.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
Science > School of the Built Environment > Energy and Environmental Engineering group
ID Code:77953


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