Laser Remote Sensing from ISS: the CATS-CALIPSO Cloud and Aerosol Data Products
Abstract:The NASA Cloud Aerosol Transport System (CATS) is a dual-beam, multi-wavelength (1064, 532 and 355 nm), polarization sensitive (1064 and 532 nm) lidar developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for deployment to the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2014. CATS will be mounted on the Japanese Experiment Module's Exposed Facility and will provide near-continuous, altitude-resolved measurements of clouds and aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere. The ISS orbit path provides a unique opportunity to capture the full diurnal cycle of cloud and aerosol development and transport, allowing for studies that are not possible with the lidar aboard the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) mission, which flies in the sun-synchronous A-Train orbit.
One of the primary objectives of CATS is to continue the CALIPSO data record to provide continuity of aerosol and cloud lidar observations during the transition from CALIPSO to EarthCARE. To accomplish this, the CATS project at GSFC and the CALIPSO project at NASA’s Langley Research Center are closely collaborating to develop and deliver a full suite of CALIPSO-like level 2 data products generated from the newly acquired CATS level 1B data. Now in its eighth year of on-orbit operations, the CALIPSO project has developed a robust set of mature and well-validated science algorithms to retrieve the spatial and optical properties of clouds and aerosols from multi-wavelength lidar backscatter signal. By leveraging both new and existing NASA technical resources, this joint effort by the CATS-CALIPSO team will enable rapid delivery of high-quality lidar data sets to the user community at the earliest possible opportunity. In this work we outline the development of the CALIPSO- CATS level 2 software and data products and describe the modifications made to the input CATS data stream and the CALIPSO processing algorithms in order to successfully interface two disparate data processing systems. We use simulated CATS level 1B data to provide an initial assessment of CALIPSO-like CATS level 2 data quality, and highlight those areas where the CALIPSO-like analyses of the CATS multi-beam measurements are likely to contribute to improved understanding of cloud and aerosol interactions, transport and formation processes.