Ground-based and airborne-based lidars have demonstrated the ability to make direct measurements of horizontal winds based on determination of the wind-induced Doppler shift in the backscatter signal. However, space-based application of Doppler Wind Lidar technology is without heritage, thus, optimal design of DWL systems for space deployment must rely upon computer model studies. These model studies include efforts with DWL performance models, atmospheric circulation models and atmospheric optical models. Once a candidate(s) DWL concept is chosen for an impact study, a full Observing System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) is conducted and evaluated.
To develop an optimal design concept for space-based lidar platforms, a DWL simulation model (LSM) has been developed to address questions of optimum laser wavelength, pulse length, minimum power, scanning strategies, optimal signal processing and wind computation algorithms. The LSM simulates space-based/airborne coherent and incoherent Doppler lidar wind sounders, producing simulated Doppler lidar winds using either global (ECMWF T213 and T106) or mesoscale (29 km Eta and CSU RAMS) atmospheric model fields as inputs. The LSMs atmospheric algorithm library, coupled with atmospheric model fields, provides opaque clouds, cirrus clouds, cloud optical properties, aerosol backscatter, molecular attenuation, atmospheric turbulence and terrain information that must be considered when modeling a space-based DWL. This paper discusses the benefits and limitations of using todays model atmospheres in a simulation model to access a future space-based DWL system.