Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-33
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-33

  10 Feb 2021

10 Feb 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal AMT and is expected to appear here in due course.

VAHCOLI, a new concept for lidars: technical setup, science applications, and first measurements

Franz-Josef Lübken and Josef Höffner Franz-Josef Lübken and Josef Höffner
  • Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Schloss-Str. 6, Kühlungsborn (URL: www.iap-kborn.de), Germany

Abstract. A new concept for a cluster of compact lidar systems named VAHCOLI (Vertical And Horizontal COverage by LIdars) is presented which allows to measure temperatures, winds, and aerosols in the middle atmosphere (∼10–110 km) with high temporal and vertical resolution of minutes and some tens of meters, respectively, simultaneously covering horizontal scales from few hundred meters to several hundred kilometers (four-dimensional coverage). The individual lidars (units) being used in VAHCOLI are based on a diode-pumped alexandrite laser currently designed to detect potassium (λ = 770 nm), as well as on sophisticated laser spectroscopy measuring all relevant frequencies (seeder laser, power laser, backscattered light) with high temporal resolution (2 ms) and high spectral resolution applying Doppler-free spectroscopy. The frequency of the lasers and the narrow-band filter in the receiving system are stabilized to typically 10–100 kHz which is a factor of roughly 10−5 smaller than the Doppler-broadened Rayleigh signal. Narrow-band filtering allows to measure Rayleigh and/or resonance scattering separately from the aerosol (Mie) signal, all during night and day. Lidars used for VAHCOLI are compact (volume: ∼1 m3) and are multi-purpose systems employing contemporary electronical, optical, and mechanical components. The units are designed to autonomously operate under harsh field conditions at remote locations. An error analysis with parameters of the anticipated system demonstrates that temperatures and line-of-sight winds can be measured from the lower stratosphere to the upper mesosphere with an accuracy of ±(0.1–5) K and ±(0.1–10) m/s, respectively, increasing with altitude. We demonstrate that some crucial dynamical processes in the middle atmosphere, such as gravity waves and stratified turbulence, can be covered by VAHCOLI with sufficient temporal/vertical/horizontal sampling and resolution. The four-dimensional capabilities of VAHCOLI allow to perform time-dependent analysis of the flow field, for example employing Helmholtz decomposition, and to carry out statistical tests regarding intermittency, helicity etc. First test measurements under field conditions with a prototype lidar being built for VAHCOLI were performed in January 2020. The lidar operated successfully during a six week period (night and day) without any adjustment. These observations covered a height range of ∼5–100 km and demonstrate the capability and applicability of this unit for the VAHCOLI concept.

Franz-Josef Lübken and Josef Höffner

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-33', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Mar 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Franz-Josef Lübken, 16 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-33', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Franz-Josef Lübken, 16 Apr 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on amt-2021-33', Anonymous Referee #3, 06 Apr 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Franz-Josef Lübken, 16 Apr 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-33', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Mar 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Franz-Josef Lübken, 16 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-33', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Franz-Josef Lübken, 16 Apr 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on amt-2021-33', Anonymous Referee #3, 06 Apr 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Franz-Josef Lübken, 16 Apr 2021

Franz-Josef Lübken and Josef Höffner

Franz-Josef Lübken and Josef Höffner

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Short summary
We present a new concept for a cluster of lidars which allows for the first time to measure time-resolved profiles of temperatures, winds, and aerosols in the entire middle atmosphere, also covering regional horizontal scales (four-dimensional coverage). Measurements are performed during day and night. The essential component is newly developed laser with unprecedented performance. We also present first measurements. New observational capabilities in atmospheric physics are established.