Date of Award

Fall 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Earth Science

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Ruth K Varner


The planetary boundary layer (PBL) is a buoyantly stable feature of the lower troposphere that restricts mixing between the surface air and the free troposphere aloft. In the Arctic, PBL behavior is particularly important to atmospheric chemistry because most anthropogenic pollutants enter the region via long-range transport rather than local emissions, and therefore must pass through the PBL. PBL heights can be detected in the backscatter signal of the MPLNET aerosol lidar that was part of the ICEALOT research campaign of March and April 2008, along with observations of elevated aerosol plumes and cloud formation. Features in the MPLNET backscatter are compared to sonde data from the cruise and to backscatter profiles from overpasses by the CALIPSO satellite.