Calibration of a water vapour Raman lidar with a kite-based humidity sensor
Abstract. We present a calibration method for a water vapour Raman lidar using a meteorological probe lifted by a kite, flown steadily above the lidar site, within the framework of the Hydrological Cycle in the Mediterranean Experiment (HyMeX) and Chemistry-Aerosol Mediterranean Experiment (ChArMEx) campaigns. The experiment was carried out in Menorca (Spain) during June 2013, using the mobile water vapour and aerosol lidar WALI. Calibration using a kite demonstrated a much better degree of co-location with the lidar system than that which could be achieved with radiosondes, and it allowed us to determine the overlap function and calibration factor simultaneously. The range-dependent water vapour lidar calibration was thus determined with an uncertainty of 2 % in the 90–8000 m altitude range. Lidar water vapour measurements are further compared with radiosondes, showing very good agreement in the lower troposphere (1–5 km) and a relative difference and standard deviation of 5 and 9 % respectively. Moreover, a reasonable agreement with MODIS-integrated water vapour content is found, with a relative mean and standard deviation of 3 and 16 % respectively. However, a discrepancy is found with AERONET retrievals, showing the latter to be underestimated by 28 %. Reanalyses by the ECMWF/IFS numerical weather prediction model also agree with the temporal evolution highlighted with the lidar, with no measurable drift in integrated water vapour content over the period.