Ceilometer aerosol profiling versus Raman lidar in the frame of the INTERACT campaign of ACTRIS

Despite their differences from more advanced and more powerful lidars, the low construction and operation cost of ceilometers (originally designed for cloud base height monitoring) has fostered their use for the quantitative study of aerosol properties. The large number of ceilometers available worldwide represents a strong motivation to investigate both the extent to which they can be used to fill in the geographical gaps between advanced lidar stations and also how their continuous data flow can be linked to existing networks of the more advanced lidars, like EARLINET (European Aerosol Research Lidar Network). In this paper, multi-wavelength Raman lidar measurements are used to investigate the capability of ceilometers to provide reliable information about atmospheric aerosol properties through the INTERACT (INTERcomparison of Aerosol and Cloud Tracking) campaign carried out at the CNR-IMAA Atmospheric Observatory (760 m a.s.l., 40.60◦ N, 15.72◦ E), in the framework of the ACTRIS (Aerosol Clouds Trace gases Research InfraStructure) FP7 project. This work is the first time that three different commercial ceilometers with an advanced Raman lidar are compared over a period of 6 months. The comparison of the attenuated backscatter coefficient profiles from a multiwavelength Raman lidar and three ceilometers (CHM15k, CS135s, CT25K) reveals differences due to the expected discrepancy in the signal to noise ratio (SNR) but also due to changes in the ambient temperature on the short and midterm stability of ceilometer calibration. Therefore, technological improvements are needed to move ceilometers towards operational use in the monitoring of atmospheric aerosols in the low and free troposphere




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