Abstract

We report experiments that confirm our prediction that clouds consisting of ice crystals with properties similar to those of cirrus clouds can be cleared with relatively low pulsed CO2 laser energy density and that the cleared channel is resistant to obscuration by recondensation of the evaporated water. For the experiments reported here, we use a unique cloud-generating apparatus consisting of a low-speed wind tunnel with water spray injectors to generate water droplets or, with ice nucleus seeding at low temperatures, ice crystals. The air temperature can be controlled over the range of ambient to −40°C. A significant clearing of ice crystal clouds was observed with pulsed CO2 laser fluence in the range 0.2 to 1.5 J/cm2 and, as expected, recondensation was found to depend on ice particle mass concentration. At ice particle concentrations similar to those found in cirrus clouds, recondensation did not occur.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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