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Measuring atmospheric pollen vertical profiles using lidar
Atmospheric pollen is measured by ground-based lidar at the UMBS PROPHET tower laboratory. Lidar uses a pulsed laser to measure atmospheric aerosol particles in a single spatial coordinate. Positioned at zenith, vertical profiles of the lidar backscatter coefficient are created that can then be interpreted to understand aerosol transport within the boundary layer and, when the sky is clear, in the free troposphere. Aerosols impact both radiative transfer and cloud-precipitation processes, and the relevance of pollen in these processes is highly unknown. Measuring pollen aerosol's distribution throughout the troposphere during the local pollen season will add to the understanding of its role in such processes, as well as become a standard against which other transport models can be calibrated. This will be the first lidar measurement specifically targeting pollen in the continental US, as well as one of the only pollen measurements to be made in a rural forested location. The atmosphere over UMBS is frequently clean from anthropogenic influence, as well as dust sources, and therefore pollen plumes may be clearly seen in the lidar signal. Airborne pollen of several plant taxa is also allergenic, implying that these data generate by the lidar measurements can be useful to parties developing operational pollen forecasts or pollen allergy studies.
UMBS PROPHET Tower