New Algorithm to Derive Boundary Layer Profiles


Accurate profiles of temperature and water vapor at shorter time resolution are needed to understand the thermodynamic structure of the atmospheric boundary layer (lowest 1–3 km of the atmosphere) and its interactions with aerosol, cloud, and dynamical processes. Such profiles are generally obtained from weather balloon launches, which only occur a few times per day and do not provide the temporal resolution needed to study quickly varying cloud processes. U.S. Department of Energy scientists developed a new algorithm to retrieve boundary layer temperature and humidity profiles from the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) instrument. This new algorithm retrieves both the thermodynamic profiles and cloud properties simultaneously at 5-minute resolution, can be applied in most nonprecipitating conditions, and produces uncertainty estimates on the retrieved profiles. The new algorithm was evaluated by comparison against radiosonde data and was shown to perform well. This algorithm can be applied to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility’s multiple AERIs to characterize the spatial and temporal variability of the boundary layer’s thermodynamic structure, important information for evaluating and improving subgrid-scale cloud parameterizations in global climate models.


Turner, D. D. and U. Loehnert. 2014. “Information Content and Uncertainties in Thermodynamic Profiles and Liquid Cloud Properties Retrieved from the Ground-Based Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI),” Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 53(3), DOI:10.1175/JAMC-D-13-0126.1.