Knowledge of the convective boundary layer (CBL) and associated entrainment zone (EZ) is important for understanding land-atmosphere interactions and assessing the living conditions in the biosphere. A tilted 532 nm polarization lidar (30.sup." off zenith) has been used for the routine atmospheric measurements with 10 s time and 6.5 m height resolution over Wuhan (30.5.sup." N, 114.4.sup." E). From lidar-retrieved aerosol backscatter, instantaneous atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) depths are obtained using the logarithm gradient method and Harr wavelet transform method, while hourly mean ABL depths are obtained using the variance method. A new approach utilizing the full width at half maximum of the variance profile of aerosol backscatter ratio fluctuations is proposed to determine the entrainment zone thickness (EZT). Four typical clear-day observational cases in different seasons are presented. The CBL evolution is described and studied in four developing stages (formation, growth, quasi-stationary and decay); the instantaneous CBL depths exhibited different fluctuation magnitudes in the four stages and fluctuations at the growth stage were generally larger. The EZT is investigated for the same statistical time interval of 09:00-19:00 LT. It is found that the winter and late autumn cases had an overall smaller mean (mean) and standard deviation (SD) of EZT data compared to those of the late spring and early autumn cases. This statistical conclusion was also true for each of the four developing stages. In addition, compared to those of the late spring and early autumn cases, the winter and late autumn cases had larger percentages of EZT falling into the subranges of 0-50 m but smaller percentages of EZT falling into the subranges of 150 m. It seems that both the EZT statistics (mean and SD) and percentage of larger EZT values provide measures of entrainment intensity. Common statistical characteristics also existed. All four cases showed moderate variations of the mean of the EZT from stage to stage. The growth stage always had the largest mean and SD of the EZT and the quasi-stationary stage usually the smallest SD of the EZT. For all four stages, most EZT values fell into the 50-150 m subrange; the overall percentage of the EZT falling into the 50-150 m subrange between 09:00 and 19:00 LT was 67 % for all four cases. We believe that the lidar-derived characteristics of the clear-day CBL and associated EZ can contribute to improving our understanding of the structures and variations of the CBL as well as providing a quantitatively observational basis for EZ parameterization in numerical models.