ALCFbeta

Automatic Lidar and Ceilometer
Framework

Tutorial

This tutorial shows how to use ALCF to process ceilometer observations, simulate lidar from model output and compare the two. As an example, we will use 24 hours of Lufft CHM 15k ceilometer observations at the Birdlings Flat site in Canterbury, New Zeland on 4 July 2016, and the corresponding Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) numerical weather prediction (NWP) model and MERRA-2 renalaysis output. To start, download the dataset archive alcf-tutorial-datasets.tar (4.3 GB).

Note: Normally, you would want to compare more than 24 hours of measurements, such as one month or one year. This tutorial uses 24 hours of data due to the large size of the datasets.

Processing with ALCF can be done in two modes: automatic and manual. The automatic mode is easier and is convered in this tutorial. Both automatic and manual processing are equivalent, but manual processing gives you a better understanding of the processing steps and can be more useful if anything goes wrong during the processing. Please see the documentation on how to perform manual processing.

Preparation

First, make sure that you have installed ALCF following the installation instructions, and the you can run alcf in the terminal. Extract the archive alcf-tutorial-datasets.tar in your working directory:

tar xf alcf-tutorial-datasets.tar
cd alcf-tutorial-datasets

Datasets

The contents of the dataset archive are:

The data files are stored in the NetCDF format and can be previewed with Panoply, HDFView, ncdump or ds.

Automatic processing

Observations

To process the observations use the following command:

alcf auto lidar chm15k raw/chm15k processed/chm15k

This command will resample the lidar data, remove noise, detect clouds, calculate statistics, and plot the lidar backscatter, backscatter histogram and cloud occurrence as a function of height. The output will be stored in processed/chm15k:

Figure 1 shows the Lufft CHM 15k plots. See ALCF output for description of the NetCDF files.

Backscatter profile
Cloud occurrence
Backscatter histogram
Figure 1 | Lufft CHM 15k plots.

Model

To process MERRA-2 model data use the following command:

alcf auto model merra2 chm15k raw/merra2 processed/merra2 \
    point: { 172.686 -43.821 } time: { 2016-07-04T00:00 2016-07-05T00:00 }

The command will extract a “curtain” of data along the give point and time period, run the lidar simulator on the extracted data, simulating the Lufft CHM 15k instrument, and run the same processing steps as alcf auto lidar on the observational data above. The output will be stored in processed/merra2:

Figure 2 shows the MERRA-2 plots. See ALCF output for description of the NetCDF files.

Backscatter profile
Cloud occurrence
Backscatter histogram
Figure 2 | MERRA-2 plots.

Conclusion

This tutorial introduced how to use ALCF to process 24 hours of data collected by the Lufft CHM 15k ceilometer and the corresponding data from the MERRA-2 reanalysis. ALCF supports more advanced options described in the documentation. For support please see the support page.