Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 1001–1023, 2016

Special issue: EARLINET, the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 1001–1023, 2016

Research article 10 Mar 2016

Research article | 10 Mar 2016

EARLINET instrument intercomparison campaigns: overview on strategy and results

Ulla Wandinger1, Volker Freudenthaler2, Holger Baars1, Aldo Amodeo3, Ronny Engelmann1, Ina Mattis1,a, Silke Groß2,b, Gelsomina Pappalardo3, Aldo Giunta3, Giuseppe D'Amico3, Anatoli Chaikovsky4, Fiodor Osipenko4, Alexander Slesar4, Doina Nicolae5, Livio Belegante5, Camelia Talianu5, Ilya Serikov6, Holger Linné6, Friedhelm Jansen6, Arnoud Apituley7, Keith M. Wilson7, Martin de Graaf7,c, Thomas Trickl8, Helmut Giehl8, Mariana Adam9,d, Adolfo Comerón10, Constantino Muñoz-Porcar10, Francesc Rocadenbosch10, Michaël Sicard10, Sergio Tomás10,e, Diego Lange10,f, Dhiraj Kumar10,g, Manuel Pujadas11, Francisco Molero11, Alfonso J. Fernández11, Lucas Alados-Arboledas12,13, Juan Antonio Bravo-Aranda12,13, Francisco Navas-Guzmán12,13,h, Juan Luis Guerrero-Rascado12,13,14, María José Granados-Muñoz12,13,i, Jana Preißler14,j, Frank Wagner14,21, Michael Gausa15, Ivan Grigorov16, Dimitar Stoyanov16, Marco Iarlori17, Vincenco Rizi17, Nicola Spinelli18,19, Antonella Boselli19,3, Xuan Wang19,20, Teresa Lo Feudo18,19,k, Maria Rita Perrone21, Ferdinando De Tomasi21, and Pasquale Burlizzi21 Ulla Wandinger et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Meteorological Institute, Munich, Germany
  • 3Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Metodologie per l'Analisi Ambientale, Potenza, Italy
  • 4B.I. Stepanov Institute of Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus
  • 5National Institute of Research and Development for Optoelectronics, Magurele, Ilfov, Romania
  • 6Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 7Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, the Netherlands
  • 8Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung–Atmosphärische Umweltforschung, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 9European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, Italy
  • 10Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  • 11Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, Department of Environment, Madrid, Spain
  • 12Department of Applied Physics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  • 13Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research, Granada, Spain
  • 14Universidade de Évora, Centro de Geofísica de Évora, Évora, Portugal
  • 15Alomar, Andøya Rocket Range, Andøya, Norway
  • 16Institute of Electronics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 17Università degli Studi dell'Aquila, CETEMPS/DSFC, L'Aquila, Italy
  • 18Dipartimento di Fisica Università Federico II di Napoli, Naples, Italy
  • 19Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze Fisiche della Materia, Naples, Italy
  • 20Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto superconduttori, materiali innovativi e dispositivi, Naples, Italy
  • 21Università del Salento, Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica, Lecce, Italy
  • anow at: Meteorological Observatory Hohenpeißenberg, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Hohenpeißenberg, Germany
  • bnow at: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • cnow at: Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands
  • dnow at: Met Office, Exeter, UK
  • enow at: Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  • fnow at: Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo, Cochabamba, Bolivia
  • gnow at: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • hnow at: Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • inow at: Table Mountain Facility, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wrightwood, USA
  • jnow at: Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, School of Physics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • know at: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Scienze dell'Atmosfera e del Clima, UOS of Lamezia Terme, Italy

Abstract. This paper introduces the recent European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET) quality-assurance efforts at instrument level. Within two dedicated campaigns and five single-site intercomparison activities, 21 EARLINET systems from 18 EARLINET stations were intercompared between 2009 and 2013. A comprehensive strategy for campaign setup and data evaluation has been established. Eleven systems from nine EARLINET stations participated in the EARLINET Lidar Intercomparison 2009 (EARLI09). In this campaign, three reference systems were qualified which served as traveling standards thereafter. EARLINET systems from nine other stations have been compared against these reference systems since 2009. We present and discuss comparisons at signal and at product level from all campaigns for more than 100 individual measurement channels at the wavelengths of 355, 387, 532, and 607 nm. It is shown that in most cases, a very good agreement of the compared systems with the respective reference is obtained. Mean signal deviations in predefined height ranges are typically below ±2 %. Particle backscatter and extinction coefficients agree within ±2  ×  10−4 km−1 sr−1 and ± 0.01 km−1, respectively, in most cases. For systems or channels that showed larger discrepancies, an in-depth analysis of deficiencies was performed and technical solutions and upgrades were proposed and realized. The intercomparisons have reinforced confidence in the EARLINET data quality and allowed us to draw conclusions on necessary system improvements for some instruments and to identify major challenges that need to be tackled in the future.

Short summary
We introduce the quality-assurance efforts of the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET) at instrument level. Within several campaigns, 21 EARLINET systems from 18 EARLINET stations were intercompared. A comprehensive strategy for campaign setup and data evaluation was established. The intercomparisons have reinforced our confidence in the EARLINET data quality and allowed us to draw conclusions on necessary system improvements and to identify major challenges for our future work.