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Evaluation of a Compact Broadband Differential Absorption Lidar for Routine Water Vapor Profiling in the Atmospheric Boundary layer


The performance of a novel water vapor broadband differential absorption lidar (BB-DIAL) is evaluated. This compact, eye-safe, diode-laser-based prototype was developed by Vaisala. It was designed to operate unattended in all weather conditions, and to provide height-resolved measurements of water vapor mixing ratio in the lower troposphere. Evaluation of the Vaisala prototype was carried out at the US Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measure site in north-central Oklahoma (i.e. the Southern Great Plains site) from 15 May to 12 June 2017. BB-DIAL measurements were compared to observations from radiosondes that were launched within 200 m of the BB-DIAL’s location. Radiosonde measurements are also compared to observations from a collocated Raman lidar and an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer.

During the evaluation period, the BB-DIAL operated continuously and did not experience any failures or malfunctions. The data availability was greater than 90 % below 900 m, but then decreased rapidly with height above this level to less than 10% above 1500 m AGL. Based on 106 radiosonde profiles, the overall mean difference (averaged temporally and vertically up to 1500 m) between the BB-DIAL and the radiosonde was -0.01 g kg−1, with a standard deviation of 0.65 g kg−1, and a linear correlation coefficient of 0.98. For comparison, the overall mean difference between the Raman lidar and the radiosonde was 0.07 g kg−1, with a standard deviation of 0.74 g kg−1, and a linear correlation coefficient of 0.97.

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