CARLA Project


Click on the button below if you are not able to see the
SAS Navigation Menu at your sidebar section.

 



The Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) is an innovative light detection and ranging instrument (lidar). CARLA instrument will provide aerosol data to study Saharan dust at a Caribbean location to the scientific community. Another component of this project is to increase educational outreach opportunities for Puerto Rico’s K-12 schools and university students to perform hands-on research experiences. The Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust (PRST) awarded the CARLA project in March 2020. The CARLA instrument received additional support funding from a supplemental award of the main National Science Foundation Arecibo Observatory (AO) award. This supplement funding is used to deploy CARLA in separate housing at the AO Remote Optical Facility (ROF) located in Culebra Island, about 20 miles east of Puerto Rico. A customized 10ft by 8ft container with all the requirements to house and operate the CARLA instrument was acquired and arrived at AO on February 5, 2021. .

Team members:
Dr. Jens Lautenbach (Principal Investigator)
Dr. Pedrina Terra (Co-Investigator)
Dr. Josef Höffner (Consultant)



The Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) instrument—an innovative high spectral resolution aerosol lidar—is under development at the main site of the Arecibo Observatory (AO). Thereafter, his instrument will be installed at the Remote Optical Facility (ROF) of the AO in Culebra Island. CARLA will deliver information about aerosol properties over time and altitude. Especially the height resolved measurements are an important factor since most of the other aerosol instruments deliver only column measurements of the atmospheric aerosols. The knowledge of all three variables (i.e., aerosol properties, time, and altitude) enables studying the dynamics of aerosol layers. This includes dust coming across the Atlantic Ocean from the African continent named Saharan Air Layer (SAL). The SAL plays an essential role in the lower atmosphere because it influences cloud and hurricane formation, weather, and the health of our population, among others. Based on SAL’s track, CARLA will be deployed at the ROF of the AO in Culebra Island. Culebra Island is located around 20 miles east of Puerto Rico's mainland and a unique site to investigate the SAL free of anthropogenic pollution before it reaches Puerto Rico.

The purpose of the CARLA project is twofold: (a) study and provide data to the scientific community of aerosol properties and SAL over the island of Culebra, and (b) increase opportunities for the educational system by outreach activities for Puerto Rico’s K-12 schools as well as for university students to perform hands-on research experience.

Contact person: Dr. Jens Lautenbach, Observatory Scientist, Principal Investigator of CARLA project, jens.lautenbach@ucf.edu



 

2021

 

JULY 2021

 

Dariel.TL

Student Dariel Vidal is building the CARLA webpages in his 9-week Research Experience for Undergraduate project.

 
 

JUNE 2021

CARLA container setup

The CARLA instrument container is set up with air condition, laser table, telescope enclosure, electronic rack, electric and network connection.

 
 

FEBRUARY 2021

Container delivered

CARLA instrument container arrived.

 

2020

 

DECEMBER 2020

system test

With the equipment slowly arriving first system test are performed.

 
 

OCTOBER 2020

CARLA PC

CARLA PC is ready for installing the lidar data acquisition and instrument control card.

 
 

AUGUST 2020

Container layout

CARLA instrument container design was finished, and a manufacturer was appointed.

 
 

JULY 2020

First student outreach activity of the CARLA project. During an 8-week internship, Maria Teresa Velazquez Rodriguez from the Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas, San Juan searched research articles related to the Saharan Dust and created a database. 

 
 

JUNE 2020

Saharan Dust

The strongest Saharan Dust event for the past 50 years triggered the visit of Deborah Martorell, a weather reporter on channel 4 (WAPA), at the Arecibo Observatory(AO). The PI was interviewed about the CARLA project and the AO Lidar Facility, resulted in two  ‘Informe Especial’ titled ‘luces de Arecibo’ and ‘efectos del polvo del Sahara desde Culebra’.

 
 

MARCH 2020

 

  • Cooperate agreement between PRST and University of Central Florida(UCF) was established. The PI was awarded additional funding in the form of a supplemental proposal of the main NationalScience Foundation award to the Arecibo Observatory (AO). The funds are used to deploy the CARLA instrument in a seperate housing at the AO Remote Optical Facility at Culebra Island.
 

2019

 

OCTOBER 2019

presentation

CARLA Project presentation at the Arecibo Observatory Science Meeting.

 
 

SEPTEMBER 2019

Funding awarded

Funding awarded by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust(PRST).

 


2021
October
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
         
           
November
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 
       
             
December
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
     
 
             

 

2022
January
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
           
         
February
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
   
         
             
March
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
   
   
             
April
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
         
             
May
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
       
             
June
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
     
   
             
July
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
         
           
August
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 
     
             
September
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
       
 
             
October
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
           
         
November
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
   
     
             
December
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
       
             


CULEBRA AEROSOL REASEARCH LIDAR(CARLA)PROJECT SELECTED FOR FUNDING

CARLA Atmospheric

The CARLA project, lead by Arecibo Observatory (AO) scientist Dr. Jens Lautenbach (PI) and Dr. Pedrina Terra dos Santos (Co-I), was recently awarded funding by the Puerto Rico Science Technology & Research Trust. CARLA will deliver information about aerosol properties over time and altitude in order to study the dynamics of aerosol layers, including the Saharan Air Layer which influences cloud and hurricane formation and the air quality. + Read More

SUMMER STUDENT ASSISTS IN DEVELOPMENT OF NEWEST AO FACILITY

WLidar

Atmospheric

Even before the newest AO facility is complete, students and scientists are already hard at work on the relevant science projects. The Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) facility, which began construction in March of 2020, will be used to track aerosols in the atmosphere. Of particular importance is the study of the Saharan dust in the air, which affects air quality and hurricane formation in the Atlantic and Greater Caribbean region. June 2020 saw a uniquely strong dust plume event, causing noticeably dimmer skies as far west as Texas. + Read More



CARLA INSTRUMENT CONTAINER ARRIVES AT ARECIBO OBSERVATORY

Carla.Container Atmospheric

The highly anticipated arrival of the  Culebra Aerosol Research Lidar (CARLA) instrument container to the Arecibo Observatory occurred on February 5th, 2021. This marks the beginning of the installation of the new CARLA instrument that had been funded through a grant from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust in 2020. The CARLA instrument container, funded through a National Science Foundation (NSF) supplementary award, is a highly-customized container with all the requirements necessary to house and operate the CARLA instrument, + Read More

Congrats to María Teresa!

Maria Atmospheric

Congratulations to María Teresa Velázquez Rodríguez, former AO summer high school student, who was accepted into Harvard University for her undergraduate studies focused in astrophysics! Her work at Arecibo focused on collecting data about the Saharan Air Layer for the Arecibo Observatory's new CARLA facility