Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
03 Feb 2011
 | 03 Feb 2011

Fiber optic distributed temperature sensing for the determination of the nocturnal atmospheric boundary layer height

C. A. Keller, H. Huwald, M. K. Vollmer, A. Wenger, M. Hill, M. B. Parlange, and S. Reimann

Abstract. A new method for measuring air temperature profiles in the atmospheric boundary layer at high spatial and temporal resolution is presented. The measurements are based on Raman scattering distributed temperature sensing (DTS) with a fiber optic cable attached to a tethered balloon. These data were used to estimate the height of the stable nocturnal boundary layer. The experiment was successfully deployed during a two-day campaign in September 2009, providing evidence that DTS is well suited for this atmospheric application. Observed stable temperature profiles exhibit an exponential shape confirming similarity concepts of the temperature inversion close to the surface. The atmospheric mixing height (MH) was estimated to vary between 5 m and 50 m as a result of the nocturnal boundary layer evolution. This value is in good agreement with the MH derived from concurrent Radon-222 (222Rn) measurements and in previous studies.