The Aerosol/Lidar Science Group of the Remote Sensing Branch engages in experimental and theoretical studies of atmospheric aerosol scattering and atmospheric dynamics, emphasizing Doppler lidar as a primary tool. Activities include field and laboratory measurement and analysis efforts by in-house personnel, coordinated with similar efforts by university and government institutional researchers. The primary focus of activities related to understanding aerosol scattering is the GLObal Backscatter Experiment (GLOBE) program. GLOBE was initiated by NASA in 1986 to support the engineering design, performance simulation, and science planning for the prospective NASA Laser Atmospheric Wind Sounder (LAWS). The most important GLOBE scientific result has been identified of a background aerosol mode with a surprisingly uniform backscatter mixing ratio (backscatter normalized by air density) throughout a deep tropospheric layer. The backscatter magnitude of the background mode evident from the MSFC CW lidar measurements is remarkably similar to that evident from ground-based backscatter profile climatologies obtained by JPL in Pasadena CA, NOAA/WPL in Boulder CO, and by the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in the United Kingdom. Similar values for the background mode have been inferred from the conversion of in situ aerosol microphysical measurements to backscatter using Mie theory. Little seasonal or hemispheric variation is evident in the survey mission data, as opposed to large variation for clouds, aerosol plums, and the marine boundary layer. Additional features include: localized aerosol residues from dissipated clouds, occasional regions having mass concentrations of nanograms per cubic meter and very low backscatter, and aerosol plumes extending thousands of kilometers and several kilometers deep. Preliminary comparison with meteorological observations thus far indicate correlation between backscatter and water vapor under high humidity conditions. Limited intercomparisons with the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) limb extinction sounder shows differences in the troposphere, however, it should be noted that in general SAGE measurements have not yet been validated in the troposphere.
METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
NASA(MSFC FY92 Earth Science and Applications Program Research Review; p 113-116