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A Compact Rayleigh Autonomous Lidar (CORAL) for the middle atmosphere

Kaifler, Bernd and Kaifler, Natalie (2021) A Compact Rayleigh Autonomous Lidar (CORAL) for the middle atmosphere. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 14 (2), pp. 1715-1732. Copernicus Publications. doi: 10.5194/amt-14-1715-2021. ISSN 1867-1381.

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Official URL: https://amt.copernicus.org/articles/14/1715/2021/


The Compact Rayleigh Autonomous Lidar (CORAL) is the first fully autonomous middle atmosphere lidar system to provide density and temperature profiles from 15 to approximately 90 km altitude. From October 2019 to October 2020, CORAL acquired temperature profiles on 243 out of the 365 nights (66 %) above Río Grande, southern Argentina, a cadence which is 3–8 times larger as compared to conventional human-operated lidars. The result is an unprecedented data set with measurements on 2 out of 3 nights on average and high temporal (20 min) and vertical (900 m) resolution. The first studies using CORAL data have shown, for example, the evolution of a strong atmospheric gravity wave event and its impact on the stratospheric circulation. We describe the instrument and its novel software which enables automatic and unattended observations over periods of more than a year. A frequency-doubled diode-pumped pulsed Nd:YAG laser is used as the light source, and backscattered photons are detected using three elastic channels (532 nm wavelength) and one Raman channel (608 nm wavelength). Automatic tracking of the laser beam is realized by the implementation of the conical scan (conscan) method. The CORAL software detects blue sky conditions and makes the decision to start the instrument based on local meteorological measurements, detection of stars in all-sky images, and analysis of European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasts Integrated Forecasting System data. After the instrument is up and running, the strength of the lidar return signal is used as additional information to assess sky conditions. Safety features in the software allow for the operation of the lidar even in marginal weather, which is a prerequisite to achieving the very high observation cadence.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/141243/
Document Type:Article
Title:A Compact Rayleigh Autonomous Lidar (CORAL) for the middle atmosphere
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Kaifler, BerndDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5891-242X
Kaifler, NatalieDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-3118-6480
Date:2 March 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.5194/amt-14-1715-2021
Page Range:pp. 1715-1732
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Keywords:mesosphere lidar
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Middle Atmosphere
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Lidar
Deposited By: Kaifler, Dr. Natalie
Deposited On:08 Mar 2021 08:15
Last Modified:08 Mar 2021 08:15

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