Ceilometers as planetary boundary layer height detectors and a corrective tool for COSMO and IFS models

Leenes Uzan*, Smadar Egert, Pavel Khain, Yoav Levi, Elyakom Vladislavsky, Pinhas Alpert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The significance of planetary boundary layer (PBL) height detection is apparent in various fields, especially in air pollution dispersion assessments. Numerical weather models produce a high spatial and temporal resolution of PBL heights; however, their performance requires validation. This necessity is addressed here by an array of eight ceilometers; a radiosonde; and two models the Integrated Forecast System (IFS) global model and COnsortium for Small-scale MOdeling (COSMO) regional model. The ceilometers were analyzed with the wavelet covariance transform method, and the radiosonde and models with the parcel method and the bulk Richardson method. Good agreement for PBL height was found between the ceilometer and the adjacent Bet Dagan radiosonde (33 m a.s.l.) at 11:00 UTC launching time (N = 91 d, ME = 4 m, RMSE = 143 m, R = 0:83). The models' estimations were then compared to the ceilometers' results in an additional five diverse regions where only ceilometers operate. A correction tool was established based on the altitude (h) and distance from shoreline (d) of eight ceilometer sites in various climate regions, from the shoreline of Tel Aviv (h = 5 m a.s.l., = 0:05 km) to eastern elevated Jerusalem (h = 830 m a.s.l., = D 53 km) and southern arid Hazerim (h = 200 m a.s.l., = 44 km). The tool examined the COSMO PBL height approximations based on the parcel method. Results from a 14 August 2015 case study, between 09:00 and 14:00 UTC, showed the tool decreased the PBL height at the shoreline and in the inner strip of Israel by ∼ 100 m and increased the elevated sites of Jerusalem and Hazerim up to ∼ 400 m, and ∼ 600 m, respectively. Cross-validation revealed good results without Bet Dagan. However, without measurements from Jerusalem, the tool underestimated Jerusalem's PBL height by up to ∼ 600 m.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12177-12192
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number20
StatePublished - 27 Oct 2020


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