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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 6 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 3297-3322, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 11 Jun 2018

Research article | 11 Jun 2018

Airborne wind lidar observations over the North Atlantic in 2016 for the pre-launch validation of the satellite mission Aeolus

Oliver Lux, Christian Lemmerz, Fabian Weiler, Uwe Marksteiner, Benjamin Witschas, Stephan Rahm, Andreas Schäfler, and Oliver Reitebuch Oliver Lux et al.
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen 82234, Germany

Abstract. In preparation of the satellite mission Aeolus carried out by the European Space Agency, airborne wind lidar observations have been performed in the frame of the North Atlantic Waveguide and Downstream Impact Experiment (NAWDEX), employing the prototype of the satellite instrument, the ALADIN Airborne Demonstrator (A2D). The direct-detection Doppler wind lidar system is composed of a frequency-stabilized Nd:YAG laser operating at 355nm, a Cassegrain telescope and a dual-channel receiver. The latter incorporates a Fizeau interferometer and two sequential Fabry–Pérot interferometers to measure line-of-sight (LOS) wind speeds by analysing both Mie and Rayleigh backscatter signals. The benefit of the complementary design is demonstrated by airborne observations of strong wind shear related to the jet stream over the North Atlantic on 27 September and 4 October 2016, yielding high data coverage in diverse atmospheric conditions. The paper also highlights the relevance of accurate ground detection for the Rayleigh and Mie response calibration and wind retrieval. Using a detection scheme developed for the NAWDEX campaign, the obtained ground return signals are exploited for the correction of systematic wind errors. Validation of the instrument performance and retrieval algorithms was conducted by comparison with DLR's coherent wind lidar which was operated in parallel, showing a systematic error of the A2D LOS winds of less than 0.5ms−1 and random errors from 1.5 (Mie) to 2.7ms−1 (Rayleigh).

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This work reports airborne wind lidar observations performed in a recent field campaign. The deployed lidar system serves as a demonstrator for the satellite instrument ALADIN on board Aeolus, which is scheduled for launch in 2018 and will become the first wind lidar in space. After presenting the measurement principle, operation procedures and wind retrieval algorithm, the obtained wind results are validated and discussed, providing valuable information in preparation for the satellite mission.
This work reports airborne wind lidar observations performed in a recent field campaign. The...