, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 38-46
Date: 28 Jan 2011

Laser radar: A technique for studying the atmosphere

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Laser radar, also called lidar, is proving to be a powerful technique for helping us to understand the world in which we live. It can provide information on topography, vegetation canopies, and on characteristics of Earth’s atmosphere. This article describes how laser light scattering can be used in lidar systems to help visualize the structure of our atmosphere and to address a wide variety of important scientific questions from air pollution to climate issues. The article focuses on two specific examples of ground-based elastic lidar, the Micro Pulse Lidar System and the CLidar system, to provide an introduction to the methods of atmospheric lidar measurements and their applications.

Nimmi C Parikh Sharma is a Professor of Physics at Central Connecticut State University, USA. Her recent work in lidar was supported by the National Science Foundation. Her research interests include environmental optics and optical atmospheric sensing.