NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California recently completed test flights with prototypes of potential satellite sensors.
The flight campaign called Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL).
Aerosols are small solid or liquid particles suspended in Earth’s atmosphere, like fine dust, smoke, pollen or soot. These particles scatter and absorb sunlight and are critical to the formation of clouds and precipitation. Scientists can analyze this scattered light using instruments like polarimeters, which measure the color and polarization of the scattered light, and lidars, which use lasers to probe the atmosphere. Together these data sets provide key information about aerosol properties, including size, shape and chemical composition — information that provides a better understanding and assessment of their effects on weather, climate and air quality. 🙂