The ALICAT Lidar for the AOS-Inclined Orbit: Instrument Overview and Projected Performance

Edward P Nowottnick, John E Yorks, Matthew J McGill, Patrick A Selmer, Kenneth Edward Christian, and Melanie B Follette-Cook
Abstract:  The Atmospheric Lidar for Clouds and Aerosol Transport (ALICAT) is a SmallSat elastic backscatter lidar planned to fly in the AOS inclined orbit with an anticipated launch in summer 2028. Providing vertical measurements of attenuated backscatter and volume depolarization ratio at 532 and 1064 nm in an orbit with a 55-degree inclination, ALICAT will provide critical measurements of diurnal variability of clouds and aerosol profiles coincident with other AOS instrumentation, notionally a Ku-band radar and microwave radiometer in the inclined orbit for a planned 3-year lifetime. Compared to its predecessor, the Cloud Aerosol Transport System (CATS) technology demonstration that flew on the International Space Station (ISS), ALICAT offers improved SNR for better characterization of diurnal cycles of convection and aerosol transport processes. Additionally, ALICAT provides an opportunity for real-time data products that can be readily utilized by applications community, particularly for aerosol and weather modeling, health and air quality, and aviation safety. In this presentation, we provide an overview of the ALICAT instrument and heritage, contribution to AOS-I science objectives, comparison to previous spaceborne atmospheric lidars, and projected performance commensurate with AOS science requirements.