Atmospheric boundary layer height estimation from aerosol lidar: a new approach based on morphological image processing techniques

Vivone, G., D’Amico, G., Summa, D., Lolli, S., Amodeo, A., Bortoli, D., and Pappalardo, G.

The atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) represents the lowermost part of the atmosphere directly in contact with the Earth’s surface. The estimation of its depth is of crucial importance in meteorology and for anthropogenic pollution studies. ABL height (ABLH) measurements are usually far from being adequate, both spatially and temporally. Thus, different remote sensing sources can be of great help in growing both the spatial and temporal ABLH measurement capabilities. To this aim, aerosol backscatter profiles are widely used as a proxy to retrieve the ABLH. Hence, the scientific community is making remarkable efforts in developing automatic ABLH retrieval algorithms applied to lidar observations. In this paper, we propose a ABLH estimation algorithm based on image processing techniques applied to the composite image of the total attenuated backscatter coefficient. A pre-processing step is applied to the composite total backscatter image based on morphological filters to properly set-up and adjust the image to detect edges. As final step, the detected edges are post-processed through both mathematical morphology and an object-based analysis. The performance of the proposed approach is assessed on real data acquired by two different lidar systems, deployed in Potenza (Italy) and Évora (Portugal), belonging to the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET). The proposed approach has shown higher performance than the benchmark consisting of some state-of-the-art ABLH estimation methods. Read the full article.