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Special Issue "Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere"

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A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Professor John A. Reagan

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Arizona, 1230 E. Speedway, Bldg. 104, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
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Interests: electromagnetic remote sensing; lidar; satellite lidar; solar spectral radiometry; atmospheric optics; aerosol and cloud retrieval techniques; optical remote sensing systems and system calibration techniques

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Advancing our understanding and quantification of global/regional climate change as well as improving weather prediction depend critically on the information provided through remote sensing. These advances can only be achieved with the continuation/enhancement of existing successful remote sensing programs, plus the addition of promising new remote sensing approaches. Optical remote sensing of the atmosphere, via satellites, airborne platforms and ground-based systems, is and will continue to be of key importance in these efforts. This special issue invites contributions on research projects/programs and instruments for optical remote sensing of the atmosphere which now provide, or offer the promise of providing, significant results in support of investigations of global/regional climate change. Submissions addressing both active and passive remote sensing approaches are encouraged. Paper topics such as sensing atmospheric trace gases, aerosols, clouds, winds and temperature are all of interest. While emphasis will be placed on contributions presenting new results, novel sensing approaches, innovative research ideas and the like, review and status-of-the-field contributions are also welcomed.

Professor John A. Reagan
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • satellite, airborne and ground-based lidar
  • DIAL
  • HSRL
  • Ramen lidar
  • multi-spectral solar radiometry/sun photometry
  • trace gas sensing
  • aerosol sensing
  • cloud sensing
  • satellite spectral radiometry (UV, Vis & NIR)
  • retrieval/inverse techniques and applications
  • sky radiance sensing
  • sky polarimetry

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Airborne Measurements of CO2 Column Concentration and Range Using a Pulsed Direct-Detection IPDA Lidar
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(1), 443-469; doi:10.3390/rs6010443
Received: 2 October 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (3560 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We have previously demonstrated a pulsed direct detection IPDA lidar to measure range and the column concentration of atmospheric CO2. The lidar measures the atmospheric backscatter profiles and samples the shape of the 1,572.33 nm CO2 absorption line. We participated
[...] Read more.
We have previously demonstrated a pulsed direct detection IPDA lidar to measure range and the column concentration of atmospheric CO2. The lidar measures the atmospheric backscatter profiles and samples the shape of the 1,572.33 nm CO2 absorption line. We participated in the ASCENDS science flights on the NASA DC-8 aircraft during August 2011 and report here lidar measurements made on four flights over a variety of surface and cloud conditions near the US. These included over a stratus cloud deck over the Pacific Ocean, to a dry lake bed surrounded by mountains in Nevada, to a desert area with a coal-fired power plant, and from the Rocky Mountains to Iowa, with segments with both cumulus and cirrus clouds. Most flights were to altitudes >12 km and had 5–6 altitude steps. Analyses show the retrievals of lidar range, CO2 column absorption, and CO2 mixing ratio worked well when measuring over topography with rapidly changing height and reflectivity, through thin clouds, between cumulus clouds, and to stratus cloud tops. The retrievals shows the decrease in column CO2 due to growing vegetation when flying over Iowa cropland as well as a sudden increase in CO2 concentration near a coal-fired power plant. For regions where the CO2 concentration was relatively constant, the measured CO2 absorption lineshape (averaged for 50 s) matched the predicted shapes to better than 1% RMS error. For 10 s averaging, the scatter in the retrievals was typically 2–3 ppm and was limited by the received signal photon count. Retrievals were made using atmospheric parameters from both an atmospheric model and from in situ temperature and pressure from the aircraft. The retrievals had no free parameters and did not use empirical adjustments, and >70% of the measurements passed screening and were used in analysis. The differences between the lidar-measured retrievals and in situ measured average CO2 column concentrations were <1.4 ppm for flight measurement altitudes >6 km. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Illuminating the Capabilities of the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (NPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day/Night Band
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6717-6766; doi:10.3390/rs5126717
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 12 November 2013 / Accepted: 13 November 2013 / Published: 6 December 2013
Cited by 34 | PDF Full-text (14034 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Daytime measurements of reflected sunlight in the visible spectrum have been a staple of Earth-viewing radiometers since the advent of the environmental satellite platform. At night, these same optical-spectrum sensors have traditionally been limited to thermal infrared emission, which contains relatively poor information
[...] Read more.
Daytime measurements of reflected sunlight in the visible spectrum have been a staple of Earth-viewing radiometers since the advent of the environmental satellite platform. At night, these same optical-spectrum sensors have traditionally been limited to thermal infrared emission, which contains relatively poor information content for many important weather and climate parameters. These deficiencies have limited our ability to characterize the full diurnal behavior and processes of parameters relevant to improved monitoring, understanding and modeling of weather and climate processes. Visible-spectrum light information does exist during the nighttime hours, originating from a wide variety of sources, but its detection requires specialized technology. Such measurements have existed, in a limited way, on USA Department of Defense satellites, but the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, which carries a new Day/Night Band (DNB) radiometer, offers the first quantitative measurements of nocturnal visible and near-infrared light. Here, we demonstrate the expanded potential for nocturnal low-light visible applications enabled by the DNB. Via a combination of terrestrial and extraterrestrial light sources, such observations are always available—expanding many current existing applications while enabling entirely new capabilities. These novel low-light measurements open doors to a wealth of new interdisciplinary research topics while lighting a pathway toward the optimized design of follow-on satellite based low light visible sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Open AccessArticle Satellite Regional Cloud Climatology over the Great Lakes
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6223-6240; doi:10.3390/rs5126223
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 14 November 2013 / Accepted: 15 November 2013 / Published: 25 November 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (4996 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thirty-one years of imager data from polar orbiting satellites are composited to produce a satellite climate data set of cloud amount for the Great Lakes region. A trend analysis indicates a slight decreasing trend in cloud cover over the region during this time
[...] Read more.
Thirty-one years of imager data from polar orbiting satellites are composited to produce a satellite climate data set of cloud amount for the Great Lakes region. A trend analysis indicates a slight decreasing trend in cloud cover over the region during this time period. The trend is significant and largest (~2% per decade) over the water bodies. A strong seasonal cycle of cloud cover is observed over both land and water surfaces. Winter cloud amounts are greater over the water bodies than land due to heat and moisture flux into the atmosphere. Late spring through early autumn cloud amounts are lower over the water bodies than land due to stabilization of the boundary layer by relatively cooler lake waters. The influence of the lakes on cloud cover also extends beyond their shores, affecting cloud cover and properties far down wind. Cloud amount composited by wind direction demonstrate that the increasing cloud amounts downwind of the lakes is greatest during autumn and winter. Cold air flows over relatively warm lakes in autumn and winter generate wind parallel convective cloud bands. The cloud properties of these wind parallel cloud bands over the lakes during winter are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Progress towards an Autonomous Field Deployable Diode-Laser-Based Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) for Profiling Water Vapor in the Lower Troposphere
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6241-6259; doi:10.3390/rs5126241
Received: 31 August 2013 / Revised: 2 November 2013 / Accepted: 13 November 2013 / Published: 25 November 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1005 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A laser transmitter has been developed and incorporated into a micro-pulse differential absorption lidar (DIAL) for water vapor profiling in the lower troposphere as an important step towards long-term autonomous field operation. The laser transmitter utilizes two distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) diode lasers
[...] Read more.
A laser transmitter has been developed and incorporated into a micro-pulse differential absorption lidar (DIAL) for water vapor profiling in the lower troposphere as an important step towards long-term autonomous field operation. The laser transmitter utilizes two distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) diode lasers to injection seed a pulsed tapered semiconductor optical amplifier (TSOA), and is capable of producing up to 10 mJ of pulse energy with a 1 ms pulse duration and a 10 kHz pulse repetition frequency. The on-line wavelength of the laser transmitter can operate anywhere along the water vapor absorption feature centered at 828.187 nm (in vacuum) depending on the prevailing atmospheric conditions, while the off-line wavelength operates at 828.287 nm. This laser transmitter has been incorporated into a DIAL instrument utilizing a 35.6 cm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and fiber coupled avalanche photodiode (APD) operating in the photon counting mode. The performance of the DIAL instrument was demonstrated over a ten-day observation period. During this observation period, data from radiosondes were used to retrieve water vapor number density profiles for comparisons with the number density profiles retrieved from the DIAL data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Open AccessArticle A New Laser Based Approach for Measuring Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6284-6304; doi:10.3390/rs5126284
Received: 23 September 2013 / Revised: 12 November 2013 / Accepted: 18 November 2013 / Published: 25 November 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1570 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2012, we developed a proof-of-concept system for a new open-path laser absorption spectrometer concept for measuring atmospheric CO2. The measurement approach utilizes high-reliability all-fiber-based, continuous-wave laser technology, along with a unique all-digital lock-in amplifier method that, together, enables simultaneous transmission
[...] Read more.
In 2012, we developed a proof-of-concept system for a new open-path laser absorption spectrometer concept for measuring atmospheric CO2. The measurement approach utilizes high-reliability all-fiber-based, continuous-wave laser technology, along with a unique all-digital lock-in amplifier method that, together, enables simultaneous transmission and reception of multiple fixed wavelengths of light. This new technique, which utilizes very little transmitted energy relative to conventional lidar systems, provides high signal-to-noise (SNR) measurements, even in the presence of a large background signal. This proof-of-concept system, tested in both a laboratory environment and a limited number of field experiments over path lengths of 680 m and 1,600 m, demonstrated SNR values >1,000 for received signals of ~18 picoWatts averaged over 60 s. A SNR of 1,000 is equivalent to a measurement precision of ±0.001 or ~0.4 ppmv. The measurement method is expected to provide new capability for automated monitoring of greenhouse gas at fixed sites, such as carbon sequestration facilities, volcanoes, the short- and long-term assessment of urban plumes, and other similar applications. In addition, this concept enables active measurements of column amounts from a geosynchronous orbit for a network of ground-based receivers/stations that would complement other current and planned space-based measurement capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Open AccessArticle Fraunhofer Lidar Prototype in the Green Spectral Region for Atmospheric Boundary Layer Observations
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(11), 6079-6095; doi:10.3390/rs5116079
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 27 October 2013 / Accepted: 13 November 2013 / Published: 18 November 2013
PDF Full-text (961 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A lidar detects atmospheric parameters by transmitting laser pulse to the atmosphere and receiving the backscattering signals from molecules and aerosol particles. Because of the small backscattering cross section, a lidar usually uses the high sensitive photomultiplier and avalanche photodiode as detector and
[...] Read more.
A lidar detects atmospheric parameters by transmitting laser pulse to the atmosphere and receiving the backscattering signals from molecules and aerosol particles. Because of the small backscattering cross section, a lidar usually uses the high sensitive photomultiplier and avalanche photodiode as detector and uses photon counting technology for collection of weak backscatter signals. Photon Counting enables the capturing of extremely weak lidar return from long distance, throughout dark background, by a long time accumulation. Because of the strong solar background, the signal-to-noise ratio of lidar during daytime could be greatly restricted, especially for the lidar operating at visible wavelengths where solar background is prominent. Narrow band-pass filters must therefore be installed in order to isolate solar background noise at wavelengths close to that of the lidar receiving channel, whereas the background light in superposition with signal spectrum, limits an effective margin for signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) improvement. This work describes a lidar prototype operating at the Fraunhofer lines, the invisible band of solar spectrum, to achieve photon counting under intense solar background. The photon counting lidar prototype in Fraunhofer lines devised was used to observe the atmospheric boundary layer. The SNR was improved 2-3 times by operating the lidar at the wavelength in solar dark lines. The aerosol extinctions illustrate the vertical structures of aerosol in the atmospheric boundary over Qingdao suburban during summer 2011. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Open AccessArticle Stereoscopic Height and Wind Retrievals for Aerosol Plumes with the MISR INteractive eXplorer (MINX)
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(9), 4593-4628; doi:10.3390/rs5094593
Received: 5 August 2013 / Revised: 7 September 2013 / Accepted: 10 September 2013 / Published: 17 September 2013
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (3148 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard the Terra satellite acquires imagery at 275-m resolution at nine angles ranging from 0° (nadir) to 70° off-nadir. This multi-angle capability facilitates the stereoscopic retrieval of heights and motion vectors for clouds and aerosol plumes. MISR’s
[...] Read more.
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard the Terra satellite acquires imagery at 275-m resolution at nine angles ranging from 0° (nadir) to 70° off-nadir. This multi-angle capability facilitates the stereoscopic retrieval of heights and motion vectors for clouds and aerosol plumes. MISR’s operational stereo product uses this capability to retrieve cloud heights and winds for every satellite orbit, yielding global coverage every nine days. The MISR INteractive eXplorer (MINX) visualization and analysis tool complements the operational stereo product by providing users the ability to retrieve heights and winds locally for detailed studies of smoke, dust and volcanic ash plumes, as well as clouds, at higher spatial resolution and with greater precision than is possible with the operational product or with other space-based, passive, remote sensing instruments. This ability to investigate plume geometry and dynamics is becoming increasingly important as climate and air quality studies require greater knowledge about the injection of aerosols and the location of clouds within the atmosphere. MINX incorporates features that allow users to customize their stereo retrievals for optimum results under varying aerosol and underlying surface conditions. This paper discusses the stereo retrieval algorithms and retrieval options in MINX, and provides appropriate examples to explain how the program can be used to achieve the best results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Sensitivity of the OMI-NO2 Product to Emission Changes across Europe
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(9), 4187-4208; doi:10.3390/rs5094187
Received: 14 June 2013 / Revised: 22 August 2013 / Accepted: 22 August 2013 / Published: 27 August 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2777 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The advent of satellite data has provided a source of independent information to monitor trends in tropospheric nitrogen dioxide levels. To interpret these trends, one needs to know the sensitivity of the satellite retrieved NO2 column to anthropogenic emissions. We have applied
[...] Read more.
The advent of satellite data has provided a source of independent information to monitor trends in tropospheric nitrogen dioxide levels. To interpret these trends, one needs to know the sensitivity of the satellite retrieved NO2 column to anthropogenic emissions. We have applied a chemistry transport model to investigate the sensitivity of the modeled NO2 column, sampled at the OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) overpass time and location and weighted by the OMI averaging kernel, to emission sources across Europe. The most important contribution (~35%) in Western Europe is made by road transport. Off-road transport and industrial combustion each contribute 10%–15% across continental Europe. In Eastern Europe, power plant contributions are of comparable magnitude as those of road transport. To answer the question if the OMI-NO2 trends can be translated directly into emission changes, we assessed the anticipated changes in OMI-NO2 between 2005 and 2020. Although the results indicated that for many countries, it is indeed possible, for medium- and small-sized coastal countries, the contribution of the increasing shipping emissions in adjacent sea areas may mask a significant part of national emission reductions. This study highlights the need for a combined use of models, a priori emission estimates and satellite data to verify emission trends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Open AccessArticle Spectrometer for Sky-Scanning Sun-Tracking Atmospheric Research (4STAR): Instrument Technology
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(8), 3872-3895; doi:10.3390/rs5083872
Received: 14 June 2013 / Revised: 22 July 2013 / Accepted: 23 July 2013 / Published: 6 August 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Spectrometer for Sky-Scanning, Sun-Tracking Atmospheric Research (4STAR) combines airborne sun tracking and sky scanning with diffraction spectroscopy to improve knowledge of atmospheric constituents and their links to air-pollution/climate. Direct beam hyper-spectral measurement of optical depth improves retrievals of gas constituents and determination
[...] Read more.
The Spectrometer for Sky-Scanning, Sun-Tracking Atmospheric Research (4STAR) combines airborne sun tracking and sky scanning with diffraction spectroscopy to improve knowledge of atmospheric constituents and their links to air-pollution/climate. Direct beam hyper-spectral measurement of optical depth improves retrievals of gas constituents and determination of aerosol properties. Sky scanning enhances retrievals of aerosol type and size distribution. 4STAR measurements will tighten the closure between satellite and ground-based measurements. 4STAR incorporates a modular sun-tracking/ sky-scanning optical head with fiber optic signal transmission to rack mounted spectrometers, permitting miniaturization of the external optical head, and future detector evolution. Technical challenges include compact optical collector design, radiometric dynamic range and stability, and broad spectral coverage. Test results establishing the performance of the instrument against the full range of operational requirements are presented, along with calibration, engineering flight test, and scientific field campaign data and results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
Open AccessArticle Compact Setup of a Tunable Heterodyne Spectrometer for Infrared Observations of Atmospheric Trace-Gases
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(7), 3397-3414; doi:10.3390/rs5073397
Received: 29 April 2013 / Revised: 26 June 2013 / Accepted: 9 July 2013 / Published: 16 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2056 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We report on the development and characterization of the new  compact infrared heterodyne receiver, iChips (Infrared Compact Heterodyne Instrument for Planetary Science). It is specially designed for ground-based observations of the terrestrial atmosphere in the mid-infrared wavelength region. Mid-infrared room temperature quantum cascade
[...] Read more.
We report on the development and characterization of the new  compact infrared heterodyne receiver, iChips (Infrared Compact Heterodyne Instrument for Planetary Science). It is specially designed for ground-based observations of the terrestrial atmosphere in the mid-infrared wavelength region. Mid-infrared room temperature quantum cascade lasers are implemented into a heterodyne system for the first time. Their tunability allows the instrument to operate in two different modes.  The scanning mode covers a spectral range of few wavenumbers continuously with a resolution of approximately ν/∆ν ≥ 105. This mode allows the determination of the terrestrial atmospheric transmission. The staring mode, applied for observations of single molecular transition features, provides a spectral resolution of ν/∆ν ≥ 107 and a bandwidth of 1.4  GHz.  To demonstrate the instrument's capabilities, initial observations in both modes were performed by measuring the terrestrial transmittance at 7.8 µm (∼ 1,285 cm−1) and by probing terrestrial ozone features at 8.6 µm (∼ 1,160 cm−1), respectively. The receivers characteristics and performance are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)

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