BackForwardInstrument:  VCL 

Instrument details
Acronym VCL
Full name Vegetation Canopy Lidar
Purpose Accurate topography and its changes to monitor biomass, ecosystems and ice
Short description Wavelength 1064 nm. Multi-beam capability
Background Initially proposed as a stand-alone mission in the framework of the Earth System Science Pathfinder programme (ESSP)
Scanning Technique Nadir-view and 5 cross-track spots 5-km spaced, for a total swath of 25 km
Resolution 25 m horizontal, 1 m vertical
Coverage / Cycle Two weeks for cells of 70 km
Mass 225 kg Power 336 W Data Rate 0.8 Mbps

 

Providing Agency NASA
Instrument Maturity Demonstration pending
Utilization Period: TBD
Last update: 2017-03-31
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Earth observation instrument
  • Active and radio-occultation sensor
  • Lidar (Doppler lidar, backscatter lidar, lidar Dial, lidar altimeter)
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Biomass
  • Glacier topography
  • Land surface topography
Secondary mission objectives
  • Coastal sea level (tide)
  • Geoid
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Tentative Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Aerosol column burden3 - highCloud sensitive.Opportunity information from lidar altimeter
Aerosol mass mixing ratio3 - highCloud sensitive.Opportunity information from lidar altimeter
Aerosol Optical Depth3 - highCloud sensitive.Opportunity information from lidar altimeter
Biomass1 - primaryCloud sensitive.. Index only.. Infrequent coverage.Specifically designed for canopy mapping
Cloud drop effective radius5 - marginalLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Mapping capability.
Cloud ice5 - marginalLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Mapping capability.
Cloud ice Total Column5 - marginalLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Mapping capability.
Cloud ice effective radius5 - marginalLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Mapping capability.
Cloud liquid water (CLW)5 - marginalLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Mapping capability.
Cloud liquid water (CLW) total column5 - marginalLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Mapping capability.
Cloud optical depth1 - primaryLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Mapping capability.
Cloud top height1 - primaryInfrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Mapping capability.
Coastal sea level (tide)4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter (for canopy mapping)
Freezing level height in clouds5 - marginalLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter. Detected as discontinuity. Mapping capability
Geoid2 - very highLong time series needed.Geoid derived from multi-temporal analysis of lidar altimetry data
Glacier topography1 - primaryCloud sensitive.. Long time for mapping.Mainly designed for canopy. Mapping capability
Gravity field4 - fairPartial information (geoid).Gravity field derived from multi-temporal analysis of lidar altimetry data
Height of the top of PBL2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from lidar altimeter. PBL top detected as discontinuity. Mapping capability
Height of the tropopause3 - highCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from from lidar altimeter. Tropopause height detected as discontinuity. Mapping capability
Ice sheet topography1 - primaryCloud sensitive.. Long time for mapping.Mainly designed for canopy. Mapping capability
Land surface topography1 - primaryCloud sensitive.. Long time for mapping.Mainly designed for canopy. Mapping capability
Melting layer depth in clouds3 - highLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.Opportunity information from lidar altimeter. Detected as discontinuity. Mapping capability
Ocean dynamic topography4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.. Long time for mapping.Opportunity information from multi-beam lidar altimeter (for canopy mapping)
PSC occurrence1 - primaryInfrequent coverage.NIR lidar altimeter, multi-beam. Mapping capability
Sea-ice elevation1 - primaryCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.NIR lidar altimeter, multi-beam, mainly designed for canopy, but also usable for ice elevation. Mapping capability
Sea-ice thickness1 - primaryCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.. Change detection only.NIR lidar altimeter, multi-beam, mainly designed for canopy, but also usable for ice elevation. Mapping capability. Thickness inferred by ice model
Aerosol volcanic ash3 - highCloud sensitive.Opportunity information from lidar altimeter
Aerosol volcanic ash Total Column3 - highCloud sensitive.Opportunity information from lidar altimeter