Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New atmospheric remote sensing station

A new atmospheric remote sensing station is being set up at the University of Hertfordshire's Bayfordbury Observatory. It will include several optical polarimeters and other instruments for observing clouds and aerosols.

A Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) instrument has been installed - it is like the more familiar RADAR but using laser light instead of radio waves. It detects light from a laser beam reflected from small particles in the atmosphere and provides a profile of atmospheric composition up to an altitude of 20km. One motivation is to make observations of volcanic ash from future eruptions.

The LIDAR is in fact the second of five instruments planned. The station will be gradually enhanced with new instruments over the next twelve months. When the final instruments are installed, the station will be a unique facility not just in the UK but anywhere in the world.

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