Atmospheric Sciences Editors' Highlights

The Promise of Spaceborne High Spectral Resolution Lidar

New spaceborne high spectral resolution lidar measurements provide a new view of global aerosols.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters


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Remote detection of backscatter, extinction, and the lidar ratio from aerosols and clouds provides important understanding of the impacts of pollution, such as smoke, on the climate system. Spaceborne high spectral resolution lidar (HSRL), or similar observations, have been a decades-long goal of the scientific community. Baars et al. [2021] present first results from the Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument (ALADIN) HSR Doppler lidar onboard the Aeolus satellite, through detection of a smoke plume transported from California to over central Europe. While these should be considered preliminary results, they demonstrate the long-awaited potential of spaceborne HSRL and hopefully signal that more routine measurements of this sort are in the near future. Further refinement of ALADIN analysis methods and longer-term measurements will ultimately have major impacts on models via data assimilation as well as provide a new view of global aerosols.

Citation: Baars, H., Radenz, M., Floutsi, A. A., Engelmann, R., Althausen, D., Heese, B., et al. [2021]. Californian wildfire smoke over Europe: A first example of the aerosol observing capabilities of Aeolus compared to ground‐based lidar. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2020GL092194. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL092194

—Chris Cappa, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters

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