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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Lidar instruments for ESA Earth observation missions

Paper Abstract

The idea of deploying a lidar system on an Earthorbiting satellite stems from the need for continuously providing profiles of our atmospheric structure with high accuracy and resolution and global coverage. Interest in this information for climatology, meteorology and the atmospheric sciences in general is huge. Areas of application range from the determination of global warming and greenhouse effects, to monitoring the transport and accumulation of pollutants in the different atmospheric regions (such as the recent fires in Southeast Asia), to the assessment of the largely unknown microphysical properties and the structural dynamics of the atmosphere itself.

Spaceborne lidar systems have been the subject of extensive investigations by the European Space Agency since mid 1970’s, resulting in mission and instrument concepts, such as ATLID, the cloud backscatter lidar payload of the EarthCARE mission, ALADIN, the Doppler wind lidar of the Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM) and more recently a water vapour Differential Absorption Lidar considered for the WALES mission. These studies have shown the basic scientific and technical feasibility of spaceborne lidars, but they have also demonstrated their complexity from the instrument viewpoint. As a result, the Agency undertook technology development in order to strengthen the instrument maturity. This is the case for ATLID, which benefited from a decade of technology development and supporting studies and is now studied in the frame of the EarthCARE mission. ALADIN, a Direct Detection Doppler Wind Lidar operating in the Ultra -Violet, will be the 1st European lidar to fly in 2007 as payload of the Earth Explorer Core Mission ADM. WALES currently studied at the level of a phase A, is based upon a lidar operating at 4 wavelengths in near infrared and aims to profile the water vapour in the lower part of the atmosphere with high accuracy and low bias. Lastly, the European Space Agency is extending the lidar instrument field for Earth Observation by initiating feasibility studies of a spaceborne concept to monitor atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

The purpose of this paper is to present the instruments concept and related technology/instrument developments that are currently running at the European Space Agency. The paper will also outline the development planning proposed for future lidar systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 November 2017
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 10568, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2004, 1056801 (21 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2308005
Show Author Affiliations
Arnaud Hélière, European Space Agency (Netherlands)
Errico Armandillo, European Space Agency (Netherlands)
Yannig Durand, European Space Agency (Netherlands)
Alain Culoma, European Space Agency (Netherlands)
Roland Meynart, European Space Agency (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10568:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2004
Josiane Costeraste; Errico Armandillo, Editor(s)

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