A differential absorption lidar (DIAL) instrument for automated profiling of water vapor in the lower troposphere has been designed, tested, and is in routine operation at Montana State University. The laser transmitter for the DIAL instrument uses a widely tunable external cavity diode laser (ECDL) to injection seed two cascaded semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) to produce a laser transmitter that accesses the 824–841-nm spectral range. The DIAL receiver utilizes a 28-cm-diameter Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope; an avalanche photodiode (APD) detector; and a narrowband optical filter to collect, discriminate, and measure the scattered light. A technique of correcting for the wavelength-dependent incident angle upon the narrowband optical filter as a function of range has been developed to allow accurate water vapor profiles to be measured down to 225 m above the surface. Data comparisons using the DIAL instrument and collocated radiosonde measurements are presented demonstrating the capabilities of the DIAL instrument.
Water Vapor Profiling using a Widely Tunable, Amplified Diode Laser Based Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL), Amin R. Nehrir, Kevin S. Repasky, John L. Carlsten, Michael D. Obland, and Joseph A. Shaw. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, Vol. 26, No. 4, 733-745, April 2009.