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LACO Overview

The Laboratory for Aerosol and Cloud Optics (LACO), Department of Physics, is composed by faculty, staff, post docs, graduate and undergraduate students, and associated members that participate in activities between UMBC and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Several of our associated members have offices in NASA GSFC and at UMBC.

Our main interests are on the effect of aerosol particles on cloud formation, development, lifetime, and precipitation has proven to be extremely important. Aerosols influence clouds through microphysical and radiative effects with similar impacts. The scientific interests of our group cover several aspects of this interaction with research varying from the microphysical measurement of the aerosol particles (with in situ ground based and aircraft, laboratory, and satellite remote sensing measurements) through the measurements of cloud ice and water particles (using in situ aircraft, laboratory experiments with ice and water, and remote sensing via satellite, aircraft, and ground based systems). We are strongly oriented towards the development of new instrumentation and algorithms for laboratory and field measurements from ground, mountain top, aircraft, and satellite sensors. We are also interested in the modeling of the radiative properties of aerosol and cloud particles, including the 3D properties of cloud fields and its effects on the radiative balance of the atmosphere. We are also particularly involved in the measurement of the spectral properties of aerosol particles from the deep UV (200nm) to the NIR (2500nm).



Association with NASA Goddard:

Through the UMBC Joint Center for Earth Systems and Technology (JCET) we are closely connected with the NASA Goddard’s Climate and Radiation Branch, and in particular with the MODIS aerosol group, where we share personnel, laboratories and other facilities optimizing the resources available between NASA GSFC and UMBC. We basically consider LACO and the GSFC MODIS Aerosol Team as the same group (picture in November 2007), working together with the same objectives. We have also worked closely with several NASA GSFC Engineering Branches for the development of new satellite and aircraft sensors focusing on future measurements of aerosol and cloud properties. We have strong US and international collaborations with several groups, with whom we keep active projects focusing on the measurement and modeling of aerosol and cloud properties. We have performed field/aircraft measurements in several countries and Continents and we intend to continue and extend these collaborations to many more regions of interest.