This section introduces new automatic methods for calculating convective boundary layer mean depths, cloud base altitudes, cloud top altitudes, and cloud coverage estimates from the Volume Imaging Lidar data. All data obtained with the VIL during the FIFE program are analyzed and the results are summarized. The reliability of these methods is verified by comparing the results with radiosonde profiles, satellite images, and visual estimates from Range Height Indicator (RHI) scans of the VIL.
The VIL was operated at the FIFE site from July 1 to July 11, 1987, and July 26 to August 11, 1989, and recorded about 2500 boundary layer volume scans consisting of about 25 gigabytes of raw data. In earlier studies,
[38,39,41] the convective boundary layer mean depth and entrainment zone thickness were detected by a visual inspection of RHI scans. Due to the enormous amount of raw data from the FIFE program, a complete visual inspection was impractical. Therefore, the automatic analysis methods developed in this study were essential for analyzing all the data from the experiment.