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Doppler Aerosol WiNd Lidar (DAWN)


Operated By: 

The NASA Langley Research Center DAWN (Doppler Aerosol WiNd) lidar system employs a pulsed, solid-state laser operating at 2053 nm wavelength. It pulses at 10 Hz with up to 100 mJ/pulse which are 180 ns long. Using a wedge scanner, several different azimuth angles can be measured below the aircraft, all at a 30 degree off-nadir angle. Multiple azimuth angles enable horizontal wind calculation, mitigate cloud obscurations, and measure atmospheric variability. DAWN can provide vertical profiles of the zonal (u) and meridional (v) components of the horizontal wind below the aircraft, typically at ~60 meter resolution. Various vertical and horizontal resolutions are possible in post processing. DAWN can also provide vertical profiles of line of sight (LOS) wind speed at each azimuth angle. It can also be operated to stare persistently at any particular azimuth angle to simulate what a satellite such as European Space Agency Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM) Aeolus would observe. DAWN signal returns also permit retrieval of vertical profiles of relative aerosol backscatter, planetary boundary layer height, and wind turbulence.

Instrument Type: 
Recent Missions: 
CPEX-CV (DC-8 - AFRC); CPEX 2022 (DC-8 - AFRC); CPEX-AW 2021 (DC-8 - AFRC); Aeolus CalVal19 (DC-8 - AFRC); CPEX 2017 (DC-8 - AFRC); PolarWinds-I/II (B-200 (UC-12B) - LARC)
Complete mission list:
  • CPEX-CV (DC-8 - AFRC)
  • CPEX 2022 (DC-8 - AFRC)
  • CPEX-AW 2021 (DC-8 - AFRC)
  • Aeolus CalVal19 (DC-8 - AFRC)
  • CPEX 2017 (DC-8 - AFRC)
  • PolarWinds-I/II (B-200 (UC-12B) - LARC)
  • GRIP 2010 (DC-8 - AFRC)
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