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Optical Engineering

Elastic scattering, fluorescent scattering, and differential absorption airborne lidar observations of atmospheric tracers
Author(s): Edward E. Uthe
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Paper Abstract

Clear-air atmospheric motions can be visualized for evaluating atmospheric transport and diffusion parameters using tracer techniques in which a specific gas or particulate material is released into the atmosphere and the distribution of the tracers is evaluated by photographic or in situ sampling. However, photographic methods apply only to relatively dense tracer concentrations, and three-dimensional structure is difficult to evaluate. In situ sampling normally does not provide required spatial resolution over both horizontal and vertical directions; in addition, the platform supporting the in situ sensor may modify tracer concentration distributions. Lidar provides a method of mapping the three-dimensional distribution of tracer material released into the atmosphere with high spatial resolution from remote distances. A lidar operated from an airborne platform in a downward viewing direction can map tracer concentration distributions over long downwind distances and can also profile the earth's surface elevation so that atmospheric behavior in complex terrain can be effectively analyzed. This paper presents examples of airborne lidar used to observe the atmospheric distribution of tracer material by means of elastic scattering from smoke plumes generated within the near-surface mixed layer, fluorescent scattering from dye particles released above the mixed layer by means of a cropduster aircraft, and differential absorption lidar measurements of SF6 tracer gas released at the surface level.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 January 1991
PDF: 6 pages
Opt. Eng. 30(1) doi: 10.1117/12.55769
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 30, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Edward E. Uthe, SRI International (United States)


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