Since 1996, the ARM Southern Great Plains site has maintained one of the few operational Raman lidars in the world. Now, thanks to funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the ARM Tropical Western Pacific site is about to join that exclusive group. A new Raman lidar, built by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, is on its way to Darwin, Australia.
The Raman lidar (light detection and ranging) uses pulses of laser radiation to probe the atmosphere. A telescope collects the backscattered radiation that returns, and the optics inside the laboratory shelter use that radiation to derive time- and altitude-resolved profiles of atmospheric water vapor, aerosols, clouds, and temperature.
The system is housed in two standalone shelters; one serves as a laboratory enclosure, and the other contains support systems such as HVAC services and power conditioning. In September, it completed successful testing at Sandia and began its journey to Darwin, where a freshly poured concrete pad stands ready to receive it.
The new lidar is nearly identical to the Raman lidar at the SGP site, which was also developed by Sandia. As part of Recovery Act activities, Sandia is taking advantage of updated technology developed for the new lidar to upgrade the SGP lidar as well.