Construction of a LIDAR System for Boundary Layer Height Measurements

Our atmosphere contains, in addition to a variety of molecules, a rich brew of particulates and aerosols that include dust, ice and salt crystals, fog, haze and clouds. These particles largely exist within the lowest part of the atmosphere, the boundary layer. This layer exhibits a strong diurnal variation due to convective motion resulting from solar heating of the Earth’s surface.

The convective mixed layer forms with the boundary layer during the daylight hours, varying in height to approximately 2 km during this period. This atmospheric layer is most affected by humans, being that in which the bulk of humankind live, and also traps the anthropogenic pollution within, ensuring that we breathe the emissions of factories and pollution sources.

To date, the pollution monitoring in Metro Manila has been via air volume sampling techniques which do not yield a volume estimation of the pollution, nor lend themselves to modeling of the airshed. The topic of this paper is the design, development and construction of an automated scanning LIDAR facility capable of recording Mie back-scattered signal from the boundary layer, particularly the convective mixed layer boundary.

[Presented at the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas (SPP) Congress, 1999.]