TOPAZ lidar scanner

Photo: A. Langford, NOAAResearch Highlight Air Quality: Air from the stratosphere makes it harder for Las Vegas to meet health-based standards for surface ozone pollution.

Atmospheric Remote Sensing

Dr. W. Alan Brewer, Program Lead
Sara Gibbons, Admin Support Assistant (303) 497-5074

NOAA ESRL Chemical Sciences Division
325 Broadway R/CSD3
Boulder, CO 80305 USA


The Atmospheric Remote Sensing Group uses land-, ship-, and aircraft-based active and passive optical systems to study processes of importance to air quality and climate, aviation and weather forecasting, wind energy, and marine ecosystems.


Our capabilities and interests include both the development and deployment of state-of-the-art lidar and spectroscopic instrumentation, and the interpretation of data obtained with these systems.


We work closely with the Tropospheric Chemistry and Cloud & Aerosol Processes groups within CSD on air quality and climate-related field studies, and with other divisions of NOAA as well as federal and non-federal partners on research activities related to the structure and evolution of atmospheric flow systems and boundary layers.

Oceanographic Lidar

salmon counting

Developing the airborne lidar for fisheries surveys (FLOE).

Wind Energy

wind turbine

Studying the wake effect of wind turbines for improved efficiency and reduced damage.


The Atmospheric Remote Sensing Group joined what is now CSD in October 2005. The Group was formerly known as the Optical Remote Sensing Division (and before that the Advanced Technique Development Division) of the NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL). Our personnel bring more than 30 years of experience developing and applying novel lidar systems for atmospheric research to CSD.

Field Projects

Field Projects

Studying Colorado Front Range
air pollution and photochemistry.

Recent Publications

Recent Publications

Estimating the height of the
atmospheric boundary layer with
lidar profiles.



Lidar data from major field campaigns.