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Instrument: CATS : Cloud-Aerosol Transport System
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Associated Platforms

Spectral/Frequency Information
Wavelength Keyword: INFRARED > REFLECTED
Spectral/Frequency Coverage/Range: 1064 nm

Wavelength Keyword: VISIBLE
Spectral/Frequency Coverage/Range: 532 nm

Wavelength Keyword: ULTRAVIOLET
Spectral/Frequency Coverage/Range: 355 nm

Related Data Sets
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The Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS), launched on 10 January 2015, is a lidar remote sensing instrument that provides range-resolved profile measurements of atmospheric aerosols and clouds. Data from CATS is used to derive properties of cloud/aerosol layers including: layer height, layer thickness, backscatter, optical depth, extinction, and depolarization-based discrimination of particle type. The instrument is located on the Japanese Experiment Module ? Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) on the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS orbit is a 51-degree inclination orbit at an altitude of about 405 km. This orbit provides more comprehensive coverage of the tropics and mid-latitudes than sun-synchronous orbiting sensors, with nearly a three-day repeat cycle. CATS is intended to operate on-orbit for at least six months, and up to three years. The CATS payload is designed to provide a combination of long-term operational science, in-space technology demonstration, and technology risk reduction for future Earth Science missions.

Science Goals:
The measurements of atmospheric clouds and aerosols provided by the CATS payload will be used for three main science objectives:

1. Provide real-time observations of aerosol vertical distribution as inputs to global models. The vertical profile information obtained by CATS, particularly at multiple wavelengths and with depolarization information obtained in Modes 1 and 3, provides height location of cloud and aerosol layers, as well as information on particle size and shape.

2. Extend the space-based lidar record for continuity in the lidar climate observations. The CATS instrument will provide measurements of cloud and aerosol profiles similar to CALIPSO, filling in the data gap, so this information can continually be used to improve climate models and our understanding of the Earth system and climate feedback processes.

3. Advance technology in support of future space-based lidar mission development by demonstrating the ability to retrieve vertical profiles using the High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) technique and 355 nm wavelength.

Modes of Operation:
To meet these three science goals, CATS operates in three different modes using four instantaneous fields of view (IFOV):

Mode 1 Multi-beam backscatter detection at 1064 and 532 nm, with depolarization measurement at both wavelengths.
Mode 2 Demonstration of HSRL aerosol measurements.
Mode 3 Demonstration of 355-nm profiling.

Online Resources

Instrument Logistics
Instrument Start Date: 2015-01-10
Instrument Owner: NASA