Atmospheric moisture structure revealed by Raman lidar

S.H. Melfi, David N. Whiteman, and Richard Ferrare

Water vapor is an important constituent of the atmosphere. The release of latent heat as water changes state from vapor to liquid to ice is one of the dominant drivers of atmospheric circulation. Water vapor is also the most active infrared (IR) molecule in the atmosphere. Thus, water vapor will play a major role in any global warming triggered by increasing carbon dioxide. The importance of water vapor in climate processes was recently re-emphasized at a workshop held in Easton, Md., just one year ago.

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