Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
Research article
17 Jan 2017
Research article |  | 17 Jan 2017

Characterisation of boundary layer turbulent processes by the Raman lidar BASIL in the frame of HD(CP)2 Observational Prototype Experiment

Paolo Di Girolamo, Marco Cacciani, Donato Summa, Andrea Scoccione, Benedetto De Rosa, Andreas Behrendt, and Volker Wulfmeyer

Abstract. Measurements carried out by the University of Basilicata Raman lidar system (BASIL) are reported to demonstrate the capability of this instrument to characterise turbulent processes within the convective boundary layer (CBL). In order to resolve the vertical profiles of turbulent variables, high-resolution water vapour and temperature measurements, with a temporal resolution of 10 s and vertical resolutions of 90 and 30 m, respectively, are considered. Measurements of higher-order moments of the turbulent fluctuations of water vapour mixing ratio and temperature are obtained based on the application of autocovariance analyses to the water vapour mixing ratio and temperature time series. The algorithms are applied to a case study (11:30–13:30 UTC, 20 April 2013) from the High Definition Clouds and Precipitation for Climate Prediction (HD(CP)2) Observational Prototype Experiment (HOPE), held in western Germany in the spring 2013. A new correction scheme for the removal of the elastic signal crosstalk into the low quantum number rotational Raman signal is applied. The noise errors are small enough to derive up to fourth-order moments for both water vapour mixing ratio and temperature fluctuations.

To the best of our knowledge, BASIL is the first Raman lidar with a demonstrated capability to simultaneously retrieve daytime profiles of water vapour turbulent fluctuations up to the fourth order throughout the atmospheric CBL. This is combined with the capability of measuring daytime profiles of temperature fluctuations up to the fourth order. These measurements, in combination with measurements from other lidar and in situ systems, are important for verifying and possibly improving turbulence and convection parameterisation in weather and climate models at different scales down to the grey zone (grid increment  ∼  1 km; Wulfmeyer et al., 2016).

For the considered case study, which represents a well-mixed and quasi-stationary CBL, the mean boundary layer height is found to be 1290 ± 75 m above ground level (a.g.l.). Values of the integral scale for water vapour and temperature fluctuations at the top of the CBL are in the range of 70–125 and 75–225 s, respectively; these values are much larger than the temporal resolution of the measurements (10 s), which testifies that the temporal resolution considered for the measurements is sufficiently high to resolve turbulent processes down to the inertial subrange and, consequently, to resolve the major part of the turbulent fluctuations. Peak values of all moments are found in the interfacial layer in the proximity of the top of the CBL. Specifically, water vapour and temperature second-order moments (variance) have maximum values of 0.29 g2 kg−2 and 0.26 K2; water vapour and temperature third-order moments have peak values of 0.156 g3 kg−3 and −0.067 K3, while water vapour and temperature fourth-order moments have maximum values of 0.28 g4 kg−4 and 0.24 K4. Water vapour and temperature kurtosis have values of  ∼  3 in the upper portion of the CBL, which indicate normally distributed humidity and temperature fluctuations. Reported values of the higher-order moments are in good agreement with previous measurements at different locations, thus providing confidence in the possibility of using these measurements for turbulence parameterisation in weather and climate models.

In the determination of the temperature profiles, particular care was dedicated to minimise potential effects associated with elastic signal crosstalk on the rotational Raman signals. For this purpose, a specific algorithm was defined and tested to identify and remove the elastic signal crosstalk and to assess the residual systematic uncertainty affecting temperature measurements after correction. The application of this approach confirms that, for the present Raman lidar system, the crosstalk factor remains constant with time; consequently an appropriate assessment of its constant value allows for a complete removal of the leaking elastic signal from the rotational Raman lidar signals at any time (with a residual error on temperature measurements after correction not exceeding 0.18 K).

Short summary
This paper reports what we believe are the first measurements throughout the atmospheric convective boundary layer of higher-order moments (up to the fourth) of the turbulent fluctuations of water vapour mixing ratio and temperature performed by a single lidar system, i.e. the Raman lidar system BASIL. These measurements, in combination with measurements from other lidar systems, are fundamental to verify and possibly improve turbulence parametrisation in weather and climate models.
Final-revised paper