Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 207–218, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-6-207-2013
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 207–218, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-6-207-2013

Research article 01 Feb 2013

Research article | 01 Feb 2013

Improved mixing height monitoring through a combination of lidar and radon measurements

A. D. Griffiths1, S. D. Parkes1, S. D. Chambers1, M. F. McCabe2, and A. G. Williams1 A. D. Griffiths et al.
  • 1Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee, DC NSW 2232, Australia
  • 2The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

Abstract. Surface-based radon (222Rn) measurements can be combined with lidar backscatter to obtain a higher quality time series of mixing height within the planetary boundary layer (PBL) than is possible from lidar alone, and a more quantitative measure of mixing height than is possible from only radon. The reason why lidar measurements are improved is that there are times when lidar signals are ambiguous, and reliably attributing the mixing height to the correct aerosol layer presents a challenge. By combining lidar with a mixing length scale derived from a time series of radon concentration, automated and robust attribution is possible during the morning transition.

Radon measurements provide mixing information during the night, but concentrations also depend on the strength of surface emissions. After processing radon in combination with lidar, we obtain nightly measurements of radon emissions and are able to normalise the mixing length scale for changing emissions. After calibration with lidar, the radon-derived equivalent mixing height agrees with other measures of mixing on daily and hourly timescales and is a potential method for studying intermittent mixing in nocturnal boundary layers.

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