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In Situ Cloud Sensing with Multiple Scattering Lidar: Design and Validation of...

Evans, K. F., D. O’Connor, P. Zmarzly, and P. Lawson (2006), In Situ Cloud Sensing with Multiple Scattering Lidar: Design and Validation of an Airborne Sensor, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 23, 1068-1081.

The in situ cloud lidar is designed to measure cloud volumes of millions of cubic meters to overcome the sampling limitations of traditional cloud probes in inhomogeneous clouds. This technique sends laser pulses horizontally from an aircraft inside an optically thick cloud and measures the time series of the multiply scattered light with wide field-of-view detectors viewing upward and downward. The extinction in liquid clouds averaged over tens to hundreds of meters and the distance to cloud boundaries can be retrieved from the signal measured by a single-wavelength in situ lidar. This paper describes the design and operation of an in situ cloud lidar. A laser in the aircraft cabin outputs 532-nm wavelength pulses at 10 Hz, which are sent through beam-expanding optics for eye safety. The upward- and downward-viewing detectors use photomultiplier tubes and operate with either daytime (3° half angle; 0.37-nm solar-blocking filter) or nighttime (30°) optics. Example daytime lidar signals in dense cloud have a dynamic range of 1000 after solar background subtraction. Results from a nighttime flight in marine stratus are analyzed in detail. The variations in the lidar signals with aircraft travel are much smoother for the longer photon travel times, indicating that the later times sample volumes hundreds of meters in size. Extinction retrievals for 25-mradius volumes have high correlation (R2 ϭ 0.84) with Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe (FSSP)derived extinction, while the correlation is relatively low (R2 ϭ 0.40) for 200-m volumes due to cloud inhomogeneity. Lidar retrievals of cloud-base and -top height from inside the cloud are consistent with cloud boundaries obtained from aircraft penetrations on ascents and descents.

Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)