Environmental and Agriculture Laser Applications

Climate change is one of our most immediate challenges. Deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels are the likely causes for the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Climate change and poor air quality are major challenges in a world of increasing industrialization and urbanization. Understanding and monitoring the Earth’s atmosphere is of crucial importance. Observing the atmosphere from space can provide a global view of atmospheric composition and processes. Lasers can be used to analyze the concentrations of these gases and even to monitor their effects on ecosystems. The lasers provide a unique combination of high spatial resolution (to locate gaseous emission sources and observe between clouds), high spectral resolution (to discriminate between types of gases), and high sensitivity to detect the tiniest concentrations of atmospheric constituents. Some examples of the possible atmospheric deployment of lasers include profiling of density, humidity, and temperature of the air; observation of stratospheric aerosols; monitoring of pollutants or detecting hazardous and greenhouse gases. Compact gas detection instruments are increasingly needed for industrial health and safety, environmental monitoring and process control.