Since the early days of aviation, clouds stand in the way between mankind and the sky. Today, to secure airspace and guarantee a safe flight, airports rely on meteorological instruments called ceilometers. In a recent article for the distinguished review Meteorology Technology International, our application expert Holger Wille and I explained what kind of instrument that is and how it works.
The cloud base height is an essential parameter in meteorology, especially in aviation. Modern ceilometers observe the sky with laser beams. Influential weather services like Germany’s National Weather Service (DWD) and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) rely on the Lufft devices CHM 8k and CHM 15k.
Different lasers for different applications
In the MTI editorial, we explain the measuring principle of lidar-based systems, the special needs of aviation meteorologists, and the difference between our two instruments. It is not only the covered operational area – 15,000m height in case of the CHM 15k and 8,000m for the CHM 8k. They are equipped with different lasers and designed to serve specialists in various disciplines from meteorology, climatology, and aviation. We found that variety interesting enough to gather it in a reference compilation you can download here for free.
Ceilometers used for air quality studies
Besides, did you know that our ceilometers are used for studies on air quality in urban regions, too? With the help of our Lufft CHM 15k, meteorologists from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich are investigating the spatial and vertical distribution of aerosol particles in German metropoles Berlin and Munich. We are currently working on a publication covering the fascinating work done at the Meteorological Institute Munich. Stay tuned!