24 October 2016 Performance of a compact elastic 355 nm airborne lidar in tropical and mid-latitude clouds
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Abstract
In 2014 a new AECL (Airborne Elastic Cloud Lidar) lidar system was installed on-board the NRC Convair-580. AECL is a single wavelength elastic lidar which operates at 355nm and can supply vertical profiles of clouds and aerosols at high vertical and temporal resolution (1.5m and 0.05s). AECL is also equipped with a polarization channel and can provide information on particle phase (i.e. liquid or glaciated). The NRC AECL lidar was flown briefly on March 28, 2014 near Ottawa, Canada. In May of 2015 it was also deployed during the multi-week international HAIC (High Altitude Ice Crystals) – HIWC (High Ice Water Content) campaign near Cayenne, French Guinea. During the midlatitude flight near Ottawa, a convective cloud with cloud top extending to 4000 m was sampled by AECL. The on board in-situ cloud microphysics probes showed that the aircraft climbed through rain below 2 km reaching a mixedphase cloud above the melting layer and finally going through a supercooled layer. The lidar depolarization data from the AECL clearly identified the shallow supercooled layer near the cloud top and ice crystals with high depolarization ratio between the melting layer and the supercooled layer. In the regions of HIWC near Cayenne, the AECL laser beam was generally completely extinguished within the first 200 m. The lidar extinction coefficient, estimated using the Klett inversion technique and taken at 50 m above the aircraft showed a very good qualitative agreement with the measured in-situ extinction at flight level. The lidar extinction values had to be scaled by a factor of 5.88 to match the in-situ data. The discrepancies between the lidar estimated extinction and the direct measurements were explained, in part, by insufficient overlap correction and/or the error in the initial parameters used for the Klett inversion. In general, AECL showed promising initial results and in conjunction with other instrumentation, supplied valuable insight into the cloud optical and microphysical properties.
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Konstantin Baibakov, Mengistu Wolde, Cuong Nguyen, Alexei Korolev, Zhien Wang, Perry Wechsler, "Performance of a compact elastic 355 nm airborne lidar in tropical and mid-latitude clouds", Proc. SPIE 10006, Lidar Technologies, Techniques, and Measurements for Atmospheric Remote Sensing XII, 100060C (24 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2242112; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2242112
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