The spectrum of weather and climate needs for lidar observations from space is discussed. This paper focuses mainly on the requirements for winds, temperature, moisture, and pressure. Special emphasis is given to the needs for wind observations and it is shown that winds are required to depict realistically all atmospheric scales in the tropics and the smaller scales at higher latitudes, where both temperature and wind profiles are necessary. The need for means to estimate air-sea exchanges of sensible and latent heat also is noted. Lidar can aid here by measurement of the slope of the boundary layer. Recent theoretical feasibility studies concerning the profiling of temperature, pressure, and humidity by differential absorption lidar (DIAL) from space and expected accuracies are reviewed. Initial ground-based trials provide support for these approaches and also indicate their direct applicability to path-average temperature measurements near the surface. An alternative approach to Doppler lidar wind measurements also is presented. The concept involves the measurement of the displacement of the aerosol backscatter pattern, at constant height, between two successive scans of the same area, one ahead of the spacecraft and the other behind it, a few minutes later. Finally, an integrated space lidar system capable of measuring temperature, pressure, humidity, and winds which combines the DIAL methods with the aerosol pattern displacement concept is described briefly.

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1 Based on a presentation prepared for the Optical Society of America Conference on Coherent Laser Radar for Atmospheric Sensing, Aspen, Colo., 15–17 July 1980.

2Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences.