, Volume 78, Issue 3-4, pp 321-349

Ground-based remote sensing of the atmospheric boundary layer: 25 years of progress

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The role of ground-based remote sensors in boundary-layer research is reviewed, emphasizing the contributions of radars, sodars, and lidars. The review begins with a brief comparison of the state of remote sensors in boundary-layer research 25 years ago with its present-day status. Next, a summary of the current capabilities of remote sensors for boundary-layer studies demonstrates that for boundary-layer depth and for profiles of many mean quantities, remote sensors offer some of the most accurate measurements available. Similar accuracies are in general not found for most turbulence parameters. Important contributions of remote sensors to our understanding of the structure and dynamics of various boundary-layer phenomena or processes are then discussed, including the sea breeze, convergence boundaries, dispersion, and boundary-layer cloud systems. The review concludes with a discussion of the likely future role of remote sensors in boundary-layer research.