Airborne multi-wavelength high spectral resolution lidar observations and applications from TCAP

Poster PDF


Field Campaigns


Connor J. Flynn — University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology John W. Hair — NASA - Langley Research Center
Richard A. Ferrare — NASA - Langley Research Center Raymond Rogers — NASA - Langley Research Center
Brian Cairns — Columbia University Detlef Mueller — Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research
Phil Russell — NASA - Ames Research Center Anthony (Tony) L. Cook — NASA - Langley Research Center
Beat Schmid — Pacific Northwest National Laboratory David B Harper — NASA - Langley Research Center
Jens Redemann — University of Oklahoma Sharon P Burton — NASA - Langley Research Center
Michael D. Obland — NASA - Langley Research Center Jerome D Fast — Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Larry Berg — Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Amy Jo Swanson Scarino — Science Systems and Applications, Inc.
Chris A. Hostetler — NASA Langley Research Center Yohei Shinozuka — NASA ARC-CREST BAERI


NASA Langley recently developed the world’s first airborne multi-wavelength high spectral resolution lidar (HSRL). This lidar employs the HSRL technique at 355 and 532 nm to make independent, unambiguous retrievals of aerosol extinction and backscatter. It also employs the standard backscatter technique at 1064 nm and is polarization-sensitive at all three wavelengths. This instrument, dubbed HSRL-2 (the second-generation HSRL developed by NASA Langley), is a prototype for the lidar on NASA’s planned Aerosols-Clouds-Ecosystems mission. HSRL-2 completed its first science mission in July 2012, the Two-Column Aerosol Project (TCAP) conducted by the DOE ARM Climate Research Facility in Hyannis, Massachusetts. HSRL-2 was deployed on the NASA King Air aircraft with the NASA GISS Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP), and flights were closely coordinated with the DOE’s G-1 aircraft, which deployed a variety of in situ aerosol and trace gas instruments and the new Spectrometer for Sky-Scanning, Sun-Tracking Atmospheric Research (4STAR). The ARM Facility also deployed the ARM Mobile Facility (AMF) and their Mobile Aerosol Observing System (MAOS) at a ground site located on the northeastern coast of Cape Cod for the TCAP experiment.

In this poster we focus on the capabilities, data products, and applications of the new HSRL-2 instrument. Data products include aerosol extinction, backscatter, depolarization, and optical depth; aerosol type identification; mixed-layer depth; and range-resolved aerosol microphysical parameters. The aerosol microphysical parameters include aerosol effective radius, index of refraction, single scatter albedo, and concentration. These microphysical parameters retrieved from the DOE ARM data set are the world’s first demonstration of range-resolved aerosol microphysical retrievals from an airborne lidar. While the lidar microphysical retrievals are not as detailed as those made in situ on the G-1 aircraft, the “curtains” of horizontally and vertically resolved microphysical information enabled characterization of the aerosol properties above and below the G-1 flight altitude on the TCAP routes, and hence characterization of the entire column. In particular, the lidar curtains of aerosol scattering and absorption will be important for TCAP radiative closure studies. More generally, applications of the HSRL-2 data set include studies of aerosol direct and indirect effects, investigations of aerosol-cloud interactions, assessment of chemical transport models, and air quality studies.