Our analyses of ceilometer data have tested a variety of numerical methods for determining mixing layer and aerosol depths under the high stability conditions seen in persistent cold-air pools. By combining the lidar backscatter data with other datasets, the lifecycle of a cold air pool could be evaluated, emphasizing the additional information that can be gleaned from ceilometer data. The usefulness of low-cost lidar ceilometers for research in high-particulate, complex terrain environments is remarkable, and presents opportunities for new research to gain understanding of cold-air pool and other events.
In this presentation we evaluate various published methods for objectively determining aerosol layer depths and find that the most successful method uses a simple constant backscatter ratio to contour the top of the aerosol layer. A time-height cross-section of backscatter ratio, when used as an analysis aid with rawinsonde temperature, dew point temperature, and wind vector soundings plotted over it has been found to be a very useful analysis technique, elucidating the relationship between aerosol layers and atmospheric structure layers. Meteorological case studies will be presented to illustrate the techniques.