Frontier II

Provide new or significantly strengthened capabilities to support observational research in key areas where support needs are growing in importance 

EOL’s support of climate system science research has a deep history and we have much to offer in this realm; however, as needs and opportunities change, so is there motivation to change the nature of our support. The opportunities for global-scale observations provided now by HIAPER (e.g., during the HIPPO campaigns) are significant, and we see potential for longer-term observations through instrumentation such as CentNet. These build on EOL’s history and experience in process studies, and we will continue to serve the needs of the climate community for such observations. 

The weather forecasting and climate research communities also have a clear need to obtain improved measurements of water vapor, as accurate, high-resolution, continuous measurements of water vapor are a key observational gap.  EOL’s collaboration with Kevin Repasky (EOL Affiliate Scientist) of Montana State University (MSU) on the development of a Water Vapor Differential Absorption Lidar (WV DIAL) will help address this need.  The WV DIAL will provide measurements of water vapor from the surface to 6 km and of aerosols to 12 km, and system will have a relatively low cost due to the use of commercial off-the-shelf components. 

A proposal for a micro-pulse DIAL (MPD) testbed for sensing lower tropospheric water vapor profiles was recommended in FY 2016 for funding by the NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI). Reviewers of the proposal nearly uniformly acknowledged the system’s benefits to society through the advancement of our knowledge of water vapor distributions, which would ultimately result from the MPD system. The project aims to develop and make available to the science community a testbed of five DIAL instruments for measuring the spatial and temporal distribution of water vapor in the lower atmosphere.