7.5 Using Ceilometer Backscatter from Aerosol to Analyze Boundary Layer Structure

Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 5:15 PM
2B (Washington State Convention Center)
Steven R. Chiswell, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC; and M. J. Parker

Aerosol backscatter measurements from ceilometer data can be utilized to determine boundary layer mixing height which has many applications in air quality applications, emergency consequence assessment and plume modeling. In addition to determining the vertical mixing depth for which near surface contaminants may be dispersed, the distribution of aerosol within the boundary layer may provide additional information of the structure of the boundary layer. Prescribed burns are routinely conducted at the Savannah River Site and other nearby locations in order to maintain the habitats for plant and wildlife species as well as to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires by controlling available fuels. We will present cases with significant aerosol backscatter, including wildfire and controlled burns which provide a useful data set for evaluating boundary layer flux measurements and model forecasts of mixed layer/planetary boundary layer height. These cases provide insight into the utility of ceilometer measurements for monitoring both local and regional sources of aerosol.
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