Lidar is not a “push button” device. Even if fully automatic, it requires supervision because its calibration may change with time and environmental conditions. The quality of the final data products depends crucially on the performance of the instrument, operator’s skills and experience, and data handling procedures. When analysing your data products, you should always take into consideration the measurement uncertainty, which comes from the instrument, from the atmosphere and from their coupling. Therefore, lidar calibration is a complex process, relying on the quantitative assessment of the instrument’s performance and its continuous control.
Systematic errors belonging to the instrument are generally the most difficult to estimate, because they are a convolution of the imperfections of each single component, response to the environment, alignments and settings. During the past 10 years, EARLINET (the European Aerosol Research LIdar NETwork) has developed a detailed Quality Assurance program, which is now open to the entire community through the Lidar Calibration Centre.
LiCal combines a series of direct and remote techniques, involving both the equipment and the operators, to ensure a proper evaluation, maintenance, calibration and operation of the lidar. We offer complete services for the characterization and optimization of lidar instruments, with our six installations:
- Lidar Calibration Training Laboratory
- Lidar Components Testing Laboratory
- Mobile reference lidar POLIS
- Fixed or mobile reference lidar MUSA
- Lidar Remote Quality Assurance
- Lidar Check-up Unit