Laser transmission through simulated cirrus clouds

Kolb, Ila L., author
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Since approximately 20% of the globe is covered with cirrus clouds at any given time, it is clear that any airborne or spaceborne system using a laser will intercept cirrus clouds at some point. Cirrus clouds contain a very complex microphysical structure that will affect laser power by scattering and reflecting it away from the intended target, thus reducing efficiency and possibly even making it ineffective. Using two thin cirrus laser transmission models, a single homogeneous cloud layer , model and a multiple cloud layer model, laser transmission profiles are generated from a simulated cirrus cloud case created by the RAMS model. Sensitivity studies are performed on the laser transmission model to examine the effects of aerosols and water vapor, ice crystal orientation, multiple scattering contributions, and the differences between the single and multiple layer models. Different parts of the RAMS simulated cloud are examined as well as the development of a particular cloud feature. The two different laser transmission models are compared against each other for a variety of different cirrus cloud conditions within the simulated case. Optical depth is a cloud variable that is fairly well measured using remote sensing techniques and airborne lidar. Average optical depth is examined as a viable parameter to indicate the likely transmission through a cloud. This case study offers a basis for an atmospheric decision aid for airborne and spaceborne laser systems of when to attempt to penetrate cirrus clouds.
Summer 2001.
Also issued as author's thesis (M.S.) -- Colorado State University, 2001.
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Cirrus clouds
Atmosphere -- Laser observations
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