Articles | Volume 14, issue 22
Research article
17 Nov 2014
Research article |  | 17 Nov 2014

Assimilation of lidar signals: application to aerosol forecasting in the western Mediterranean basin

Y. Wang, K. N. Sartelet, M. Bocquet, P. Chazette, M. Sicard, G. D'Amico, J. F. Léon, L. Alados-Arboledas, A. Amodeo, P. Augustin, J. Bach, L. Belegante, I. Binietoglou, X. Bush, A. Comerón, H. Delbarre, D. García-Vízcaino, J. L. Guerrero-Rascado, M. Hervo, M. Iarlori, P. Kokkalis, D. Lange, F. Molero, N. Montoux, A. Muñoz, C. Muñoz, D. Nicolae, A. Papayannis, G. Pappalardo, J. Preissler, V. Rizi, F. Rocadenbosch, K. Sellegri, F. Wagner, and F. Dulac

Abstract. This paper presents a new application of assimilating lidar signals to aerosol forecasting. It aims at investigating the impact of a ground-based lidar network on the analysis and short-term forecasts of aerosols through a case study in the Mediterranean basin. To do so, we employ a data assimilation (DA) algorithm based on the optimal interpolation method developed in the Polair3D chemistry transport model (CTM) of the Polyphemus air quality modelling platform. We assimilate hourly averaged normalised range-corrected lidar signals (PR2) retrieved from a 72 h period of intensive and continuous measurements performed in July 2012 by ground-based lidar systems of the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET) integrated into the Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research InfraStructure (ACTRIS) network and an additional system in Corsica deployed in the framework of the pre-ChArMEx (Chemistry-Aerosol Mediterranean Experiment)/TRAQA (TRAnsport à longue distance et Qualité de l'Air) campaign. This lidar campaign was dedicated to demonstrating the potential operationality of a research network like EARLINET and the potential usefulness of assimilation of lidar signals to aerosol forecasts. Particles with an aerodynamic diameter lower than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and those with an aerodynamic diameter higher than 2.5 μm but lower than 10 μm (PM10–2.5) are analysed separately using the lidar observations at each DA step. First, we study the spatial and temporal influences of the assimilation of lidar signals on aerosol forecasting. We conduct sensitivity studies on algorithmic parameters, e.g. the horizontal correlation length (Lh) used in the background error covariance matrix (50 km, 100 km or 200 km), the altitudes at which DA is performed (0.75–3.5 km, 1.0–3.5 km or 1.5–3.5 km a.g.l.) and the assimilation period length (12 h or 24 h). We find that DA with Lh = 100 km and assimilation from 1.0 to 3.5 km a.g.l. during a 12 h assimilation period length leads to the best scores for PM10 and PM2.5 during the forecast period with reference to available measurements from surface networks. Secondly, the aerosol simulation results without and with lidar DA using the optimal parameters (Lh = 100 km, an assimilation altitude range from 1.0 to 3.5 km a.g.l. and a 12 h DA period) are evaluated using the level 2.0 (cloud-screened and quality-assured) aerosol optical depth (AOD) data from AERONET, and mass concentration measurements (PM10 or PM2.5) from the French air quality (BDQA) network and the EMEP-Spain/Portugal network. The results show that the simulation with DA leads to better scores than the one without DA for PM2.5, PM10and AOD. Additionally, the comparison of model results to evaluation data indicates that the temporal impact of assimilating lidar signals is longer than 36 h after the assimilation period.

Final-revised paper