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SRI INTERNATIONAL WILL USE HIGH-ENERGY LASER TO SHED LIGHT ON SOURCES OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

 SRI INTERNATIONAL WILL USE HIGH-ENERGY LASER TO SHED LIGHT
 ON SOURCES OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
 MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- SRI International will deploy a high-energy LIDAR (laser radar) system in western Greenland in a study of the relative contributions of man-made and natural sources of global climate change, SRI said today.
 Increases in carbon dioxide and methane from industrial and other human sources have spawned significant concern over their possible effect on global temperature. But assessing that impact has been complicated by the question of whether such changes may result from natural sources, such as the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines last year.
 In a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), researchers from SRI are building and will deploy a powerful LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system to probe the thin upper atmosphere approximately 30 to 80 kilometers in altitude -- a region that is more sensitive to global warming or cooling than the dense atmosphere nearest the earth.
 Although studying the region could, therefore, provide new insight into both natural and man-made temperature changes, the region has been difficult to probe with other technologies because it is above the uppermost limits of balloon-borne instruments and aircraft, yet below the effective altitudes of satellites.
 LIDAR is analogous to radar, but rather than an electronic signal, it uses a laser beam to monitor and measure molecular pollutants or particles, such as soot from a volcano.
 SRI's Geoscience and Engineering Center has designed and has been testing a LIDAR system that uses a high-energy laser and 36-inch telescope. The two-ton apparatus will be flown later this week to western Greenland, where it will be integrated with the existing upper atmospheric observatory operated by SRI for the NSF.
 SRI is a nonprofit organization that provides research and consulting services worldwide. It has been a pioneer in the development and application of LIDAR for atmospheric and environmental research ranging from a study of the ozone hole in the Antarctic to an assessment of the impact of burning oil fields in Kuwait.
 -0- 9/16/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: SRI will be operating its LIDAR system from 7:30 - 10 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 16. The system's high-energy green laser beam can be seen for two miles around as it shoots up into the night sky. Call Carolyn Simonds at 415-859-5815 to arrange photos, filming or interviews/
 /CONTACT: Carolyn Simonds of SRI International, 415-859-5815/ CO: SRI International; National Science Foundation ST: California IN: SU:


TM-SC -- SJ007 -- 0373 09/16/92 18:23 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 16, 1992
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