Aerosol profiling using the ceilometer network of the German Meteorological Service
Abstract. The German Meteorological Service (DWD) operates about 52 lidar ceilometers within its synoptic observations network, covering Germany. These affordable low-power lidar systems provide spatially and temporally high resolved aerosol backscatter profiles which can operationally provide quasi 3-D distributions of particle backscatter intensity. Intentionally designed for cloud height detection, recent significant improvements allow following the development of the boundary layer and to detect denser particle plumes in the free tropospere like volcanic ash, Saharan dust or fire smoke. Thus the network builds a powerful aerosol plume alerting and tracking system. If auxiliary aerosol information is available, the particle backscatter coefficient, the extinction coefficient and even particle mass concentrations may be estimated, with however large uncertainties. Therefore, large synergistic benefit is achieved if the ceilometers are linked to existing lidar networks like EARLINET or integrated into WMO's envisioined Global Aerosol Lidar Observation Network GALION. To this end, we demonstrate the potential and limitations of ceilometer networks by means of three representative aerosol episodes over Europe, namely Sahara dust, Mediterranean fire smoke and, more detailed, the Icelandic Eyjafjoll volcano eruption from mid April 2010 onwards. The DWD (Jenoptik CHM15k) lidar ceilometer network tracked the Eyjafjoll ash layers over Germany and roughly estimated peak extinction coefficients and mass concentrations on 17 April of 4–6(± 2) 10-4 m−1 and 500–750(± 300) μg/m−3, respectively, based on co-located aerosol optical depth, nephelometer (scattering coefficient) and particle mass concentration measurements. Though large, the uncertainties are small enough to let the network suit for example as aviation advisory tool, indicating whether the legal flight ban threshold of presently 2 mg/m3 is imminent to be exceeded.
H. Flentje et al.
H. Flentje et al.
H. Flentje et al.
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