The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite provides new insight into the role that clouds and atmospheric aerosols (airborne particles) play in regulating Earth's weather, climate, and air quality.
CALIPSO combines an active lidar instrument with passive infrared and visible imagers to probe the vertical structure and properties of thin clouds and aerosols over the globe. CALIPSO was launched on April 28, 2006 with the cloud profiling radar system on the CloudSat satellite.
CALIPSO and CloudSat are highly complementary and together provide new, never-before-seen 3-D perspectives of how clouds and aerosols form, evolve, and affect weather and climate. CALIPSO and CloudSat fly in formation with three other satellites in the A-train constellation to enable an even greater understanding of our climate system from the broad array of sensors on these other spacecraft.
CALIPSO is a joint U.S. (NASA) and French (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales/CNES) satellite mission that has been in operation for four years.
Learn more: https://www-calipso.larc.nasa.gov/
- The CALIOP instrument is a two-wavelength polarization-sensitive lidar that provides high-resolution vertical profiles of aerosols and clouds.
- CALIOP provides information on smoke plume injection height and the vertical distribution of aerosols through the atmosphere. These lidar data are unique in their ability to detect optically thin smoke layers at a fine vertical resolution, and CALIOP is able to view extensive smoke plumes that do not have clear boundaries. When paired with models, this instrument is able to provide novel information, such as the attribution of a river of smoke to numerous fires and the evolution of smoke-plume injection height over a day, which has implications for climate (black carbon transport and deposition on snow and ice, albedo change), air quality and human health. (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/nasa-covers-wildfires-from-man...)
- CALIOP can be used to identify ice cloud particles within tropical cyclones and other storms systems to complement observations from other satellites such as CloudSat (https://disasters.nasa.gov/super-typhoon-yutu-2018/calipso-and-cloudsat-...)