Articles | Volume 21, issue 3
31 Mar 2003
 | 31 Mar 2003

Space-borne clear air lidar measurements in the presence of broken cloud

I. Astin and C. Kiemle

Abstract. A number of proposed lidar systems, such as ESA’s AEOLUS (formerly ADM) and DIAL missions (e.g. WALES) are to make use of lidar returns in clear air. However, on average, two-thirds of the globe is covered in cloud. Hence, there is a strong likelihood that data from these instruments may be contaminated by cloud. Similarly, optically thick cloud may not be penetrated by a lidar pulse, resulting in unobservable regions that are overshadowed by the cloud. To address this, it is suggested, for example, in AEOLUS, that a number of consecutive short sections of lidar data (between 1 and 3.5 km in length) be tested for cloud contamination or for overshadowing and only those that are unaffected by cloud be used to derive atmospheric profiles. The prob-ability of obtaining profiles to near ground level using this technique is investigated both analytically and using UV air-borne lidar data recorded during the CLARE’98 campaign. These data were measured in the presence of broken cloud on a number of flights over southern England over a four-day period and were chosen because the lidar used has the same wavelength, footprint and could match the along-track spacing of the proposed AEOLUS lidar.

Key words. Atmospheric composition and structure (aerosols and particles) Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (instruments and techniques; general circulation)