Ceilometer Testbed

Recommendation of Ceilometer PBL Heights for Assimilation/Verification of Forecast Products

In response to the NRC’s report “Observing Weather from the ground up: Network of networks”, the NWS as a proof of concept started archiving the full data profile of the Automatic Surface Observing System’s (ASOS) ceilometer network. Because of the harmful effects on health caused by particulate matter and ozone, accurate forecasting of air quality conditions is needed for public well-being. The PBLH is one of the diagnostics for uncertainties in forecasting models. Models with inaccurate PBL height will generally not predict surface concentrations correctly and are likely to be compensated by tuning of other parameters, such as chemistry and emissions, in order to adjust surface concentrations to reality. Because of this, tools and methods that can accurately determine the height of the PBL are needed. Especially important would be methods that could be assimilated in real-time into these models.

Over the past four years, Howard University (HU) and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), in collaboration with NOAA/NWS, and NOAA/NCEP, have been engaged in a pilot study to utilize the full data profile of the NOAA/NWS ASOS ceilometer network. One of the objectives of this work is defining the technical details of the retrieval of aerosol mixing height as a proxy of the PBL height.  A quasi-real time algorithm has been developed and it is currently being tested and validated using the HU/UMBC regional ceilometers/lidar network.

Realtime Ceilometer Data

UMBC Lufft CHM15k (1064 nm) Click update on the Viewer tab to see latest 24 hours.

HU-Beltsville CHM15k (1064 nm) Click update on the Viewer tab to see latest 24 hours.