85th AMS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, 12 January 2005: 4:00 PM
Aerosol and Cloud Observations and Data Products by the GLAS Polar Orbiting Lidar Instrument
James D. Spinhirne, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and S. P. Palm, D. L. Hlavka, W. D. Hart, A. Mahesh, and E. J. Welton
Poster PDF (478.6 kB)
The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) launched in 2003 is the first polar orbiting satellite lidar. The instrument was designed for high performance observations of the distribution and optical scattering cross sections of clouds and aerosol. The backscatter lidar operates at two wavelengths, 532 and 1064 nm. Both receiver channels meet and exceed their design goals, and beginning with a two month period through October and November 2003, an excellent global lidar data set now exists. The data products for atmospheric observations include the calibrated, attenuated backscatter cross section for cloud and aerosol; height detection for multiple cloud layers; planetary boundary layer height; cirrus and aerosol optical depth and the height distribution of aerosol and cloud scattering cross section profiles. The data sets are now in open release through the NASA data distribution system. The initial results on global statistics for cloud and aerosol distribution has been produced and in some cases compared to other satellite observations. The sensitivity of the cloud measurements is such that the 70% global cloud coverage result should be the most accurate to date. Results on the global distribution of aerosol are the first that produce the true height distribution for model inter-comparison.

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