Wind measurements with classical methods like anemometers or radiosondes are only feasible in the lowest levels of the atmosphere or at distinct times. Modern methods of remote sensing unite the advantage of continuously probing and covering large areas and height ranges. Two supplementing methods are applied for the wind measurements at the Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre - radar (radio detection and ranging) radiating electromagnetic waves and lidar (light detection and ranging) sounding with light waves. Due to their different wavelengths the radar probes the atmosphere within clouds, whereas the lidar predominantly sounds the cloudfree areas. Both methods use the Doppler-effect for determination of wind speed, which leads to a very slight shift in wavelength of the transmitted radiation.
Fascinating insights in the dynamic of storms can be gained with the bistatic radar POLDIRAD. Dangerous aircraft wake vortices can be detected and investigated with the Doppler lidar. The lidar systems of the institute are not only operating from ground but also from aircraft like the French-German WIND system, e.g. in order to detect the strong jet streams at high altitudes. In future the global wind field will be measured from space with lidar on a polar-orbiting satellite. The institute is involved in the development of this Atmospheric Dynamics Mission ADM of the European Space Agency ESA.