The backscatter cloud probe – a compact low-profile autonomous optical spectrometer

The backscatter cloud probe (BCP) was designed as a real-time qualitative cloud detector primarily for data quality control of trace gas instruments developed for the climate monitoring instrument packages that are being installed on commercial passenger aircraft as part of the European Union In-Service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) program. Subsequent evaluations of the BCP measurements on a number of research aircraft, however, have revealed it capable of delivering quantitative particle data products including size distributions, liquid-water content and other information on cloud properties. We demonstrate the instrument’s capability for delivering useful long-term climatological, as well as aviation performance information, across a wide range of environmental conditions.

- K. Beswick, D. Baumgardner, M. Gallagher, A. Volz-Thomas, P. Nedelec, K.-Y. Wang, and S. Lance