Spain and Portugal to monitor aerosols through LiDAR

Spain and Portugal to monitor aerosols through LiDAR

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Spain: Ten scientific institutions from Spain and Portugal have joined forces to create the SPALINET LiDAR network. It is a system of radars with laser technology intended to study the aerosols in the atmosphere. The aim of the team is to homogenise and enhance the quality of measurements in order to better understand the scattering of these particles in the sky over the Iberian peninsula and the Canary Islands.

In March, the Geophysics Centre of Évora (Portugal) became the tenth scientific institution to join the Spanish and Portuguese Aerosol Lidar Network (SPALINET). This type of device works in similar fashion to a conventional radar, but instead of using radio waves, it emits optic waves (laser light), which is reflected by the particles and later redetected by an optical system.

The LiDAR can be built into satellites (such as those carried by ICESAT and CALIPSO from NASA) or aim at the atmosphere from earth, from fixed or mobile stations. The latter is what SPALINET has done in the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands.
“Satellites provide global coverage, but they must pass before returning to the same point, whereas coordinated ground-based LiDAR offer the high time and vertical resolution of each station and the space sample in the geographical area they cover simultaneously,” said Michaël Sicard, a member of the network and researcher at the Department of Signal Theory and Communications at the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña (UPC).

The objective of this project is to investigate aerosols, solid particles in suspension of natural origin (volcano emissions, dust storms) or caused by humans (burning of fuel). The study is of great interest in order to analyse the dispersion of pollutants and test weather forecast models.

Source: Eureka Alert