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Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) is a powerful tool for Earth observation. This active remote measurement technique helps to answer scientific questions related to global change of the atmospheric dynamics, the Earth’s radiation budget, the hydrological cycle, the carbon cycle, atmospheric chemistry, and weather prediction
Measurements of winds throughout the atmosphere are crucial for both numerical weather prediction (NWP) and climate studies. Profiling measurements of the global wind field are prioritised by WMO (World Meteorological Organization) Expert Teams and considered important for global NWP.
Water vapour in the atmosphere is one of the key-substances, controlling both weather and climate. Water vapour is the dominant greenhouse gas in the Earth's atmosphere. Moreover, it plays a central role in atmospheric chemistry. Despite its importance to atmospheric processes over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, water vapor is one of the least understood and poorly described components of the Earth's atmosphere.
Beyond their task to serve as airborne demonstrators for future spaceborne missions our lidar systems are frequently used in scientific campaigns, both national and international, ranging from tropical to the arctic latitudes, to study atmospheric dynamics, exchange processes as well as cloud and particle properties, through range-resolved measurements of wind, water vapour, trace gases and aerosol.
Atmosphere, Weather and Clima
Earth observation and the interpretation of data with help of numerical models are two cornerstones of climate change research.
Clouds, Aerosols and Clima
Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty in our ability to predict the future climate (IPCC, 2007). They are also the main source of uncertainty in the present understanding of the hydrological cycle. Cloud properties are well observable from space. They need to be better understood for many purposes, including the assessments of the climate impact of aviation, ships, and other traffic modes.
Detailed investigations of the variability of the stratospheric ozone layer and its long-term changes have shown that a full description of the observed fluctuations is only possible if dynamical as well as physical and chemical processes and their complex interactions are considered. Moreover, it must be regarded that changes in the troposphere in general also lead to modifications of the stratospheric composition and specifically of the ozone layer.
HALO – The High Altitude and LOng Range Research Aircraft will be the new German research aircraft for atmospheric science and earth observation. HALO will be operated by DLR Flight Operations in Oberpfaffenhofen. The institute of Atmospheric Physics will be one of the major scientific users of HALO.
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