In the early 1990s, the first small, eye-safe, and autonomous lidar system was developed, the Micropulse Lidar (MPL). The MPL acquires signal profiles of backscattered laser light from aerosols and clouds. The signals are analyzed to yield multiple layer heights, optical depths of each layer, average extinction-to-backscatter ratios for each layer, and profiles of extinction in each layer. In 2000, several MPL sites were organized into a coordinated network, called MPL-Net, by the Cloud and Aerosol Lidar Group at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) using funding provided by the NASA Earth Observing System. tn addition to the funding provided by NASA EOS, the NASA CERES Ground Validation Group supplied four MPL systems to the project, and the NASA TOMS group contributed their MPL for work at GSFC. The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) also agreed to make their data available to the MPL-Net project for processing. In addition to the initial NASA and ARM operated sites, several other independent research groups have also expressed interest in joining the network using their own instruments. Finally, a limited amount of EOS funding was set aside to participate in various field experiments each year. The NASA Sensor Intercomparison and Merger for Biological and Interdisciplinary Oceanic Studies (SIMBIOS) project also provides funds to deploy their MPL during ocean research cruises. All together, the MPL-Net project has participated in four major field experiments since 2000. Most MPL-Net sites and field experiment locations are also co-located with sunphotometers in the NASA Aerosol Robotic Network. (AERONET). Therefore, at these locations data is collected on both aerosol and cloud vertical structure as well as column optical depth and sky radiance. Real-time data products are now available from most MPL-Net sites. Our real-time products are generated at times of AERONET aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements. The AERONET AOD is used as input to our processing routines, which calculate the aerosol layer top height and extinction profile, and our MPL calibration value. A variety of other data products are available or under development. We present an overview of the MPL-Net project and discuss data products useful to the AERONET community. Results from several sites and field experiments will be presented.
Meteorology and Climatology
2002 Spring AGU Meeting; May 28, 2002 - May 31, 2002; Washington, DC; United States