The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite provides new insight into the role that clouds and atmospheric aerosols (airborne particles) play in regulating Earth’s weather, climate, and air quality. CALIPSO combines an active lidar instrument (a laser beam that send short pulses down into Earth’s atmosphere) with passive infrared and visible imagers to probe the vertical structure and properties of thin clouds and aerosols over the globe. CALIPSO was launched on April 28, 2006.

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