Variability of the Boundary Layer Over an Urban Continental Site Based on 10 Years of Active Remote Sensing Observations in Warsaw

Wang D., Stachlewska I.S., Song X., Heese B., Nemuc A.

Remote Sensing

12(2), 2020, art. 340, 10.3390/rs12020340

Atmospheric boundary layer height (ABLH) was observed by the CHM15k ceilometer (January 2008 to October 2013) and the PollyXT lidar (July 2013 to December 2018) over the European Aerosol Research LIdar NETwork to Establish an Aerosol Climatology (EARLINET) site at the Remote Sensing Laboratory (RS-Lab) in Warsaw, Poland. Out of a maximum number of 4017 observational days within this period, a subset of quasi-continuous measurements conducted with these instruments at the same wavelength (1064 nm) was carefully chosen. This provided a data sample of 1841 diurnal cycle ABLH observations. The ABLHs were derived from ceilometer and lidar signals using the wavelet covariance transform method (WCT), gradient method (GDT), and standard deviation method (STD). For comparisons, the rawinsondes of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO 12374 site in Legionowo, 25 km distance to the RS-Lab) were used. The ABLHs derived from rawinsondes by the skew-T-log-p method and the bulk Richardson (bulk-Ri) method had a linear correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.9 and standard deviation (SD) of 0.32 km. A comparison of the ABLHs obtained for different methods and instruments indicated a relatively good agreement. The ABLHs estimated from the rawinsondes with the bulk-Ri method had the highest correlations, R2 of 0.80 and 0.70 with the ABLHs determined using the WCT method on ceilometer and lidar signals, respectively. The three methods applied to the simultaneous, collocated lidar, and ceilometer observations (July to October 2013) showed good agreement, especially for the WCT method (R2 of 0.94, SD of 0.19 km). A scaling threshold-based algorithm was proposed to homogenize ceilometer and lidar datasets, which were applied on the lidar data, and significantly improved the coherence of the results (R2 of 0.98, SD of 0.11 km). The difference of ABLH between clear-sky and cloudy conditions was on average below 230 m for the ceilometer and below 70 m for the lidar retrievals. The statistical analysis of the long-term observations indicated that the monthly mean ABLHs varied throughout the year between 0.6 and 1.8 km. The seasonal mean ABLH was of 1.16 ± 0.16 km in spring, 1.34 ± 0.15 km in summer, 0.99 ± 0.11 km in autumn, and 0.73 ± 0.08 km in winter. In spring and summer, the daytime and nighttime ABLHs appeared mainly in a frequency distribution range of 0.6 to 1.0 km. In winter, the distribution was common between 0.2 and 0.6 km. In autumn, it was relatively balanced between 0.2 and 1.2 km. The annual mean ABLHs maintained between 0.77 and 1.16 km, whereby the mean heights of the well-mixed, residual, and nocturnal layer were 1.14 ± 0.11, 1.27 ± 0.09, and 0.71 ± 0.06 km, respectively (for clear-sky conditions). For the whole observation period, the ABLHs below 1 km constituted more than 60% of the retrievals. A strong seasonal change of the monthly mean ABLH diurnal cycle was evident; a mild weakly defined autumn diurnal cycle, followed by a somewhat flat winter diurnal cycle, then a sharp transition to a spring diurnal cycle, and a high bell-like summer diurnal cycle. A prolonged summertime was manifested by the September cycle being more similar to the summer than autumn cycles.