Lidar

Doppler Lidar
Doppler Lidar

A lidar is an instrument that measures backscatter from the atmosphere by emitting rapid pulses of laser light into the atmosphere, and then measuring the amount of time it takes for each pulse to bounce back. Because light moves at a constant and known speed, the Lidar instrument can calculate the distance between itself and the object, accurately yielding the backscatter.

Research lidars, designed and developed at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), have been highly effective in the study of dynamic processes in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). They provide precise, quantitative data on wind flow properties, both inland and offshore.

Most of these studies include measurements of wind and turbulence profiles at high spatial and temporal resolution, from the surface up to several hundred meters aloft. These fine resolution measurements are critical for the rapidly expanding wind-energy industry, which requires accurate assessment of wind resources and the turbulence structure of the boundary layer at the heights of turbine rotors.