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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2016, Article ID 4184512, 9 pages
Research Article

Observation of Clouds Using the CSIR Transportable LIDAR: A Case Study over Durban, South Africa

1School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa
2CSIR National Laser Centre, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

Received 29 February 2016; Revised 20 June 2016; Accepted 21 August 2016

Academic Editor: Stefania Bonafoni

Copyright © 2016 Lerato Shikwambana and Venkataraman Sivakumar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) transportable Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) was used to collect data over Durban (29.9°S, 30.9°E) during 20–23 November 2012. Aerosol measurements have been carried out in the past over Durban; however, no cloud measurements using LIDAR have ever been performed. Therefore, this study further motivates the continuation of LIDAR for atmospheric research over Durban. Low level clouds were observed on 20–22 November 2012 and high level clouds were observed on 23 November 2012. The low level cloud could be classified as stratocumulus clouds, whereas the high level clouds could be classified as cirrus clouds. Low level cloud layers showed high extinction coefficients values ranging between 0.0009 and 0.0044 m−1, whereas low extinction coefficients for high level clouds were observed at values ranging between 0.000001 and 0.000002 m−1. Optical depth showed a high variability for 20 and 21 November 2012. This indicates a change in the composition and/or thickness of the cloud. For 22 and 23 November 2012, almost similar values of optical depth were observed. Cloud-Aerosol LIDAR and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) revealed high level clouds while the CSIR LIDAR could not. However, the two instruments complement each other well to describe the cloudy condition.