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Laser Atmospheric Studies: An Overview of Recent Work and Potential Contributions to the Atmospheric Sciences

Gerald W. GramsChairman, AMS Committee on Laser Atmospheric Studies

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Since the early 1960s, the development of atmospheric probing instrumentation that incorporates lasers has led to a variety of techniques for observing the atmosphere. The number of laser atmospheric studies has steadily increased since the time in 1963 when Fiocco and Smullin at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported the first laser measurements of atmospheric properties—laser echoes from dust layers in the upper atmosphere. Since that time, tropospheric, stratospheric, and mesospheric dust concentrations, gaseous pollutant concentrations, cloud heights and thicknesses, and wind velocities are among the many characteristics of the atmosphere that have been observed quantitatively with laser probes.

This review will describe some of the laser-atmospheric interactions that have been exploited to measure specific atmospheric properties, the extent to which those concepts have been applied, and some views regarding future applications of laser probes for observing the atmosphere.

1 Paper presented at the Seventh Symposium on Scientific Reviews, 58th Annual Meeting of the AMS, 1 February 1978, Savannah, Ga.

2 School of Geophysical Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga. 30332.

Since the early 1960s, the development of atmospheric probing instrumentation that incorporates lasers has led to a variety of techniques for observing the atmosphere. The number of laser atmospheric studies has steadily increased since the time in 1963 when Fiocco and Smullin at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported the first laser measurements of atmospheric properties—laser echoes from dust layers in the upper atmosphere. Since that time, tropospheric, stratospheric, and mesospheric dust concentrations, gaseous pollutant concentrations, cloud heights and thicknesses, and wind velocities are among the many characteristics of the atmosphere that have been observed quantitatively with laser probes.

This review will describe some of the laser-atmospheric interactions that have been exploited to measure specific atmospheric properties, the extent to which those concepts have been applied, and some views regarding future applications of laser probes for observing the atmosphere.

1 Paper presented at the Seventh Symposium on Scientific Reviews, 58th Annual Meeting of the AMS, 1 February 1978, Savannah, Ga.

2 School of Geophysical Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga. 30332.

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