Lidar stands for Light Detection and Ranging. It is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges. Lidar is the optical analogue of radar. Lidar differs from radar in its energy source, a laser in the optical part of the electromagnetic spectrum (near IR and green).

Lidar is used to measure things such as:

  • range and altitude
  • atmospheric vertical profiles of aerosols and trace gas densities
  • temperature
  • cloud cover
  • wind velocity
  • shape and size of landscape features
  • height and density of forests
  • sea surface roughness