EARLINET Single Calculus Chain – overview on methodology and strategy
Abstract. In this paper we describe the EARLINET Single Calculus Chain (SCC), a tool for the automatic analysis of lidar measurements. The development of this tool started in the framework of EARLINET-ASOS (European Aerosol Research Lidar Network – Advanced Sustainable Observation System); it was extended within ACTRIS (Aerosol, Clouds and Trace gases Research InfraStructure Network), and it is continuing within ACTRIS-2. The main idea was to develop a data processing chain that allows all EARLINET stations to retrieve, in a fully automatic way, the aerosol backscatter and extinction profiles starting from the raw lidar data of the lidar systems they operate. The calculus subsystem of the SCC is composed of two modules: a pre-processor module which handles the raw lidar data and corrects them for instrumental effects and an optical processing module for the retrieval of aerosol optical products from the pre-processed data. All input parameters needed to perform the lidar analysis are stored in a database to keep track of all changes which may occur for any EARLINET lidar system over the time. The two calculus modules are coordinated and synchronized by an additional module (daemon) which makes the whole analysis process fully automatic. The end user can interact with the SCC via a user-friendly web interface. All SCC modules are developed using open-source and freely available software packages. The final products retrieved by the SCC fulfill all requirements of the EARLINET quality assurance programs on both instrumental and algorithm levels. Moreover, the manpower needed to provide aerosol optical products is greatly reduced and thus the near-real-time availability of lidar data is improved. The high-quality of the SCC products is proven by the good agreement between the SCC analysis, and the corresponding independent manual retrievals. Finally, the ability of the SCC to provide high-quality aerosol optical products is demonstrated for an EARLINET intense observation period.