Development of a micro pulsed LIDAR and a singly-resonant optical parametric oscillator for CO 2 DIAL for use in atmospheric studies

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


According to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), aerosols and CO 2 are the largest contributors to anthropogenic radiative forcing--net negative for aerosols and positive for CO 2. This relates to the amount of impact that aerosols and CO 2 can have on our atmosphere and climate system. CO 2 is the predominant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and causes great impacts on our climate system. Recent studies show that a less well known atmospheric component--aerosols, which are solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in air, can cause great impact on our climate system too. They can affect our climate directly by absorbing and scattering sunlight to warm or cool our climate. They can also affect our climate indirectly by affecting cloud microphysical properties. Typically sulfate aerosols or sea salts act as condensation nuclei for clouds to form. Clouds are estimated to shade about 60% of the earth at any given time. They are preventing much of the sunlight from reaching the earth's surface and are helping with the flow of the global water cycle. These are what permit lifeforms on earth. In the IPCC report, both aerosols and CO 2 also have the largest uncertainties and aerosols remains at a low level of scientific understanding. These indicate the need of more accurate measurements and that new technologies and instruments needs to be developed. This dissertation focuses on the development of two instruments--a scannable Micro Pulsed Lidar (MPL) for atmospheric aerosol measurements and an Optical Parametric Oscillator (OPO) for use as a transmitter in a Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) for atmospheric CO2 measurements. The MPL demonstrates successful measurements of aerosols. It provides the total aerosol optical depth (AOD) and aerosol lidar ratio (S a) that agree well with an instrument used by the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). It also successfully provides range-resolved information about aerosols that AERONET instrument is incapable of. The range-resolved information is important in the study of the sources and sinks of aerosols. The OPO results show good promise for its use as a DIAL transmitter.




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