Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) Project Selected for Funding


Space & Atmospheric Sciences Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) Project Selected for Funding

The CARLA project, lead by Arecibo Observatory (AO) scientist Dr. Jens Lautenbach (PI) and Dr. Pedrina Terra dos Santos (Co-I), was recently awarded funding by the Puerto Rico Science Technology & Research Trust. CARLA will deliver information about aerosol properties over time and altitude in order to study the dynamics of aerosol layers, including the Saharan Air Layer which influences cloud and hurricane formation and the air quality. The novel high spectral resolution aerosol lidar will be developed at the main site of the AO and thereafter be installed at the Remote Optics Facility of the AO in Culebra.

CARLA is designed to deliver high precision aerosol data in a less complex, less expensive, and smaller-sized instrument. It will uniquely provide knowledge of critical variables - aerosol properties, time and altitude to retrieve the vertical structure - needed to study the dynamics of aerosol layers. Its position on Culebra island allows for the study of the Saharan Air Layer free of anthropogenic pollution before reaching the mainland of Puerto Rico.

“Tropospheric weather and climate can strongly affect the upper atmosphere up to thermospheric altitudes due to vertical wave propagation,” Dr. Lautenbach explained. “By using both CARLA and the existing instrument clusters at AO and Culebra, it will be possible to study and enhance the knowledge of coupling effects of these different atmospheric regions in future projects.”

"By using both CARLA and the existing instrument clusters at AO and Culebra, it will be possible to study and enhance the knowledge of coupling effects of these different atmospheric regions in future projects." - Dr. Jens Lautenbach

CARLA will also increase future opportunities for the educational system by promoting outreach activities for the local schools in Culebra as well as providing opportunities for students in higher education institutions to gain hands-on research experience with the CARLA instrument. Dr. Lautenbach concluded that, “CARLA fits perfectly within the Extension Program of the Space and Atmospheric Sciences (SAS) group and will hopefully attract future funding for the sustainability of CARLA.”


Text provided by Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator/SWRI Postdoctoral Researcher

Arecibo Media Contact
Ricardo Correa
Universidad Metropolitana (UMET)
787-878-2612 ext. 615
rcorrea@naic.edu

Technical Contact
Dr. Jens Lautenbach
Arecibo Observatory
jlautenbach@naic.edu

Keywords: arecibo, observatory, culebra, optics, santos, pedrina, lautenbach, carla, aerosol, lidar, puerto rico