The Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) is important for everything from climate to air quality studies. LIDARs with high spatial and temporal resolution can monitor the PBL in a high amount of detail using aerosols as tracers.
Data from a Raymetrics LIDAR showing a change in the PBL mixing height (between 18:00 and 19:00) – corroborated by two Radiosondes on weather balloons (red stars). Data courtesy of CAPES; CHUVA project FAPESP grant 2009/15235-8. See full publication here.
Distribution of aerosols inside the PBL plays a crucial role in accurate modeling of air quality and estimation of the Air Quality Index. Monitoring the PBL is also important for validating numerical weather forecast models. Using a 3D scanning aerosol LIDAR in particular can provide excellent information on the mixing height, up and down drafts, and aerosol loading.
Raymetrics software now includes automatic layer picking, including the PBL, clouds and aerosol layers, as well as automatic particle distinction (see here for more information).