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Title: Active optical remote sensing of dense clouds with diffusing light : Early results, present implementations, and the challenges ahead

Conference ·

We survey the rapid progress of 'off-beam' cloud lidar, from inception to validation via laboratory-scale simulations. Cloud observations from ground, aircraft and even space are covered. Finally, we describe future work in this instrument development effort born out of pure theory in the mid-1990s. We foresee a bright future for off-beam lidar which is, in essence, an atmospheric application of the general principles of optical diffuse-light tomography. The physical cloud-boundary information it delivers is, in principle, the same as given from ground or space (upcoming CloudSat mission) obtained by mm-radar. And mm-radar gives some information about internal variability. However, radar reflectivities quite often disagree with optical estimates of cloud base and optical thickness for well-understood reasons. So optical and microwave cloud probes are now considered as complimentary rather then competitive in our efforts to better understand cloud radiative properties in the context of climate research. We are confident that off-beam lidar will be a valuable and, ultimately, cost-effective source of information about cloud processes. In this, we include direct insight into the present issues in large-scale short-wave absorption based on unambiguous geometrical pathlength statistics, a unique capability of off-beam cloud lidar.

Research Organization:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Organization:
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-02-1804; TRN: US201009%%359
Resource Relation:
Journal Volume: 1; Conference: Submitted to: IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2002), Toronto (Canada), June 24-28, 2002
Country of Publication:
United States