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Current Research Projects

McMurdo Lidar Project

An exciting award from NSF’s Office of Polar Programs is funding the Chu Research Group to deploy an Fe Boltzmann lidar to McMurdo, Antarctica to measure the middle and upper atmosphere for three years. Dr. Chu and her colleagues developed this lidar more than 10 years ago. With it, we made lidar observations from the North Pole to the South Pole. In particular, we made lidar measurements at the South Pole (90°S) and Rothera (67.5°S) from 1999-2005. Now our research group has upgraded this lidar and deployed it to McMurdo (78°S) since November 2010, to complete an observational chain in Antarctica. Read more ...

MRI Lidar Project

To develop a Major Research Instrumentation: Mobile Fe-resonance/Rayleigh/Mie Doppler lidar for simultaneous measurements of temperature (30-110 km), wind (80-110 km), Fe density (75-115 km), and aerosol (10-100 km) in both day and night with high accuracy, high precision, and high spatial and temporal resolutions. This lidar will be robust and compact for groundbased mobile deployment. It is containerized to move with a truck or ship to field locations of interest with extensive geographic coverage. Chirp-free and dither-free frequency locking and saturation-free Fe layer resonance will result in a bias-free estimate of winds and temperatures, which is revolutionary for Doppler lidar.

CRRL/CTC Project

Establishment of a lidar consortium technology center (CTC) for the newly established Consortium of Resonance and Rayleigh Lidars (CRRL) that mainly concentrates on the Na wind and temperature lidars; development and innovation of lidar technology for the next generation lidars; support and improve Na wind and temperature lidars at CSU, UIUC, and CoRA

CAREER Award Project

(1) Establish a global seasonal climatology of temperature structure in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) by analyzing and compiling past, present and future lidar data collected at low, mid, and high latitudes, and comparing lidar data to SABER satellite data.

(2) Understand the seasonal variations and structural differences in MLT temperature between different latitudes and longitudes via comparisons of these data with two general circulation models (TIME-GCM and WACCM) and with the Global Scale Wave Model (GSWM).

(3) Advance our knowledge of tropical tides, gravity wave (GW) instability, and tide-GW interaction by comparing lidar data between Arecibo (18.35N, 66.75W) and Maui (20.7N, 156.3W) and through coordinated measurements with a lidar and the incoherent scatter radar at Arecibo. This will help to further the understanding of temperature differences between Arecibo and Maui.

(4) Develop a new curriculum, consisting of Lidar remote sensing, Fundamentals of spectroscopy for optical remote sensing, and Lab for optical remote sensing, to systematically educate and train students and young researchers at the University of Colorado (CU) and in the CEDAR (Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions) science community.

(5) Develop a lidar education base in Boulder through the construction of a Rayleigh lidar teaching system in order to provide students with hands-on experience in classroom and workshop learning.

(6) Integrate active research projects with the CU remote sensing classes by involving both graduate and undergraduate students in the research projects and the building of the proposed lidar system.

Novel Laser Spectroscopy and Innovative Lidar Technology

Novel Doppler-free laser spectroscopy for K, Na, and Fe. This is extremely useful for the laser frequency locking and calibration of the Na, K, and Fe Doppler lidars. Design and development of next-generation resonance/Rayleigh/Mie Doppler lidar technology.

Past Research Projects

Rothera Project

Characterization of middle and upper atmosphere thermal structure, polar mesospheric/stratospheric clouds, mesospheric Fe layers, and gravity waves at Rothera Antarctic Station (67.5°S, 68.0°W) and the South Pole Station (90°S) using Fe Boltzmann temperature lidar, imager, radar, and satellite data

CEDAR Arecibo Project

Study of MLT thermal structure, tides, and gravity waves at Maui, Hawaii (20.7°N) and Arecibo, Puerto Rico (19.35°N) using Na wind/temperature lidar, K Doppler lidar, SABER satellite, meteor radar, and incoherent scatter radar data; Development of daytime capability for Arecibo K lidar

CIRES Innovation Project

Development of New Doppler Lidar Using Double-edge Atomic Absorption Filter with 3-Frequency Transmitter to Study Gravity Wave Excitation, Propagation, and Dissipation from Ground to Upper Atmosphere

Mobile Lidar Laboratory and Table Mountain Lidar Observatory

Development of a mobile lidar laboratory for the middle and upper atmosphere lidar. The mobile lab consists of two lidar containers; Establishment of a lidar observatory at NOAA Table Mountain facility (north of Boulder).

ESA Feasibility Study of Lidar in Space