Saturday, 13 January 2007
Compact Aircraft Lidar for Aerosol Atmospheric Profiling
A compact aircraft lidar was built in the Science Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center for the purpose of aerosol and cloud atmospheric profiling. Aerosols are stable suspensions of solid or liquid particles in air ranging in size from 1 nanometer to 10 microns. It is important to study the size, origin, and height of aerosols in the atmosphere because they can affect weather, climate, and the health of humans that breathe in the small particles. To this end, ground based, airborne, and spaceborne lidar systems have been developed to study the effects of aerosols. For aircraft deployment, it is important to reduce the mass and size of the lidar system as much as possible. With this in mind, a compact, efficient aircraft lidar system was developed which uses a Nd:YAG pulsed laser, a fiber coupled telescope, and a three-channel receiver. The goal is to use this aircraft lidar system to make aerosol profile measurements in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area and in the California Central Valley. The lidar system has also been used to make ground based measurements from NASA Langley Research Center. This poster presentation provides a description of the aircraft lidar system along with examples of atmospheric profiles recorded using the lidar system.