Laser Beams in the Atmosphere



There is a growing, interdisciplinary field of research which I prefer to call lidar meteorology. It involves the probing of the atmosphere with laser beams to measure the various physical parameters of concern to atmospheric scientists. When this is done with a high-energy, pulsed laser, that is, with a lidar system, the atmosphere can be monitored at unmatched spatial resolution and at reasonably long distances. Gradually, lidar researchers are venturing from their technologically oriented conferences into the realm of the applied atmospheric sciences—they have lately been seen at conferences devoted to air pollution, atmospheric radiation, cloud physics, and even radar meteorology.