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Full-Time, Eye-Safe Cloud and Aerosol Lidar Observation at Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program Sites: Instruments and Data Processing

James R. CampbellScience Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, Maryland

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Dennis L. HlavkaScience Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, Maryland

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Ellsworth J. WeltonUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland

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Connor J. FlynnPacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington

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David D. TurnerPacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington

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James D. SpinhirneNASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Branch, Greenbelt, Maryland

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V. Stanley Scott IIINASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Branch, Greenbelt, Maryland

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I. H. HwangScience and Engineering Services, Inc., Burtonsville, Maryland

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Abstract

Atmospheric radiative forcing, surface radiation budget, and top-of-the-atmosphere radiance interpretation involve knowledge of the vertical height structure of overlying cloud and aerosol layers. During the last decade, the U.S. Department of Energy, through the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program, has constructed four long-term atmospheric observing sites in strategic climate regimes (north-central Oklahoma; Barrow, Alaska; and Nauru and Manus Islands in the tropical western Pacific). Micropulse lidar (MPL) systems provide continuous, autonomous observation of nearly all significant atmospheric clouds and aerosols at each of the central ARM facilities. These systems are compact, and transmitted pulses are eye safe. Eye safety is achieved by expanding relatively low-powered outgoing pulse energy through a shared, coaxial transmit/receive telescope. ARM MPL system specifications and specific unit optical designs are discussed. Data normalization and calibration techniques are presented. These techniques, in tandem, represent an operational value-added processing package used to produce normalized data products for ARM cloud and aerosol research.

Corresponding author address: James R. Campbell, c/o Code 912, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20708. Email: campbell@virl.gsfc.nasa.gov

Abstract

Atmospheric radiative forcing, surface radiation budget, and top-of-the-atmosphere radiance interpretation involve knowledge of the vertical height structure of overlying cloud and aerosol layers. During the last decade, the U.S. Department of Energy, through the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program, has constructed four long-term atmospheric observing sites in strategic climate regimes (north-central Oklahoma; Barrow, Alaska; and Nauru and Manus Islands in the tropical western Pacific). Micropulse lidar (MPL) systems provide continuous, autonomous observation of nearly all significant atmospheric clouds and aerosols at each of the central ARM facilities. These systems are compact, and transmitted pulses are eye safe. Eye safety is achieved by expanding relatively low-powered outgoing pulse energy through a shared, coaxial transmit/receive telescope. ARM MPL system specifications and specific unit optical designs are discussed. Data normalization and calibration techniques are presented. These techniques, in tandem, represent an operational value-added processing package used to produce normalized data products for ARM cloud and aerosol research.

Corresponding author address: James R. Campbell, c/o Code 912, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20708. Email: campbell@virl.gsfc.nasa.gov

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