Ceilometer signal performance with height in high aerosol loads

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This paper is dedicated to the study of the Vaisala CL51 ceilometer backscatter signals during a one-year period, in particular the study of the noise embedded in the signals measured by the ceilometer, under cloudless conditions. The noise analysis is done to provide indication about the maximum atmospheric height up to which the ceilometer signal is still reliable enough in clear-sky conditions, for the detection of changing aerosol contents. The experiment was carried out in Doha, Qatar, for a period of 12 months, from December 2012 to November 2013. 214 clear days were selected during this year. Several tests were performed in order to assess the variability of the backscatter signals from day to day and between different heights in the atmosphere. To the authors' knowledge, it is the first time that the signal performance of a ceilometer is studied in a highly aerosol-loaded region, and for a relatively extended period of time. Considering the whole year, it is found that a height of 5 or 6 km represents a good compromise between including the signals arising from the dynamicity of the atmosphere and removing as much as possible the signal dominated by noise at higher heights. In winter months, however, this limit can be extended up to a height of 7 km.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016



  • Aerosols
  • Backscatter
  • Ceilometer
  • Clear-sky
  • Signal noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science

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