Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is an optical remote sensing technology that can measure atmospheric properties by illuminating the target with laser light and analyzing the backscattered light. Current wind LIDAR systems operate on a fundamental concept of Doppler shifts and involve sophisticated expensive equipment. Other available systems require multiple spatially separated LIDAR sensors and expensive data acquisition systems to make wind profile measurements. The present invention is a novel LIDAR system for measuring components of the velocity of a distribution of particulate matter along two axes such as a dust cloud structure moving with atmospheric wind.
This system has distinct advantages over currently available technology: 1) Lower cost compared to existing Doppler shift systems · 2) Does not require additional spatially separated LIDAR devices such as those utilized by “triple-beam sounding” techniques 3) May be used to replace expensive radar-based wind profile systems that are required in major airports to monitor wind shear conditions 4) May be used in the emerging wind energy industry for site assessment or turbine optimization