Trinidad Head is located along the rugged northern coast of California. The coastal climate is dominated by maritime influences, with moderate year-round temperatures and moderate-to-high humidity. To the immediate west is the unobstructed Pacific Ocean and to the east are redwood-dominated forest lands. Because of the characteristics of a relatively remote coastal location (insignificant anthropogenic influences and prevailing maritime airflow), the Trinidad Head site is an important new addition to the NOAA ESRL Baseline Monitoring Network and a good site for Lidar.

trinidad head (thd) observatory


The following results are from June 16, 2005. They can be found with much more data at the Micropulse Lidar Network web site (

Normalized Relative Backscatter 06/16/05 NLB Fractional Percent Uncertainty 06/16/05 Instrument Diagonstics 06/16/05

Micro-Pulse Lidar (MPL)

Micro Pulse Lidar (MPL) is a conventional time-gated, incoherent detection lidar approach able to profile all significant atmospheric cloud and aerosol structure with a compact, fully eye-safe instrument. Eye-safety, allowing for full-time, long-term unattended operation, is accomplished by transmitting low power pulses using an expanded beam (10 micro-Joules with a 0.2 m exit-aperture width and 1.2E-6 beam divergence), with a pulse repetition frequency much higher than standard lidar systems (2.5 kHz). Signal acquisition is handled via photon counting for a relatively more accurate and problem free means of handling low level signal than analog detection (see

LIDAR at Trinidad Head

In 2005, the station trailer at Trinidad Head was fitted with a skylight port to accomodate a NASA Micro-pulse lidar system, which is is now operational as part of the CIFEX campain. CIFEX (Cloud Indirect Effects Experiments) is a campaign sponsored by the Scripps Institution for Oceanography (SIO) that will focus on the Asian brown cloud and the relationship between aerosol microphysics and cloud microphysics and will investigate the impact of particles on cloud properties and precipitation efficiency.

Lead Investigator(s):

Dr. John E. Barnes
808-933-6965 (x222)
Dave Hoffman

Date Started:


Related Programs:

Mauna Loa (HI) Lidar
Boulder (CO) Lidar
Samoa Lidar
Camera Lidar
General Lidar Info

Lidar Specifications

Station Alt: 107 m
Latitude: 41.03 N
Longitude: 124.09 W
Time Zone: GMT -8
Laser Type: Nd:YAG
Frequency: Daily
Acq Board: AMCS
# Channels: 1
(nm) used: 532nm

micropulse lidar
NASA Micropulse lidar