The main research areas at the Institute are as follows:
- urgent problems of optics and laser physics including atmospheric optics and spectroscopy, optical radiation propagation through the atmosphere, study of the processes determining optical condition of the atmosphere, optoelectronic systems and technologies for investigation of environment;
- physical and chemical processes in the atmosphere and on the Earth's surface, mechanisms of the climate formation and fluctuation including optically significant atmospheric components and processes conditioning the radiative regime and climate of the Earth.
Optics of atmospheric aerosol
In the field of optics of atmospheric aerosol in IAO SB RAS are developed methods of remote laser sounding the parameters an aerosol atmosphere, the created and are widely used lidars for constructing the profiles of optical characteristics of aerosols in the troposphere and stratosphere, as well as for mapping of aerosol contamination in the atmosphere of industrial centres.
The complex lidar-acoustic intercoupling studies were performed and a number of regularities of interaction aerosol-gas and meteorological fields in surface layer of the atmosphere were found. Revealled role and given quantitative interpreting the effects of multiscattering under optical sounding of thick diffusing media. The use of created at the Institute of plane-labs. "Optic-E" has allowed to realize aerosol composition mapping of the troposphere on the territory of former USSR and ecological examination of air areas of more than 100 cities.
Since 1995 regular global cloud and upper ocean layer were studied by means of the first in the world stationary orbital space lidar "Balkan-1" , developed and created at the Institute and installed on the space station "MIR". The lidar ensures the reception of operative information on the cloud cover, including geometric and optical features of upper layer clouds and upper boundaries of cloud lower layers, as well as upper ocean layer turbidity in the global scale.
Optics of turbulent atmosphere
In the IAO SB RAS theory of space limited laser beams propagation in random inhomogeneous media has been created and as a result complex theoretical and experimental studies have been made of statistical characteristics of laser fields in turbulent atmosphere, stipulated incomplete spatial radiation coherence and difractional divergence of beams have been made. We have studied phenomena of amplification of backscattering, appearing in the turbulent atmosphere based on correlations of counter waves when propagating a laser radiation on routes with the reflection.
The proposed new methods of description of wave fronts dislocations (optical turbulence), are based on hydrodynamic analogies. Characteristics of basic presentations of random wave fronts are studied.
Original optical and acoustic methods and devices of atmospheric turbulence measurement are developed. Created in the Institute Doppler sodars are used for remote monitoring of thermodynamic features of frontier layer of the atmosphere with high spatial and time resolution.
On the basis of turbulence parameters measurements (intensity, external and internal scales), made in different regions of Russia and former USSR, discovered essential detours from the Kolmogorov - Obuchov law for the energy spectrum of atmospheric turbulence in the field of large scales, variability of the most value of external scale of turbulence from parameters of thermodynamic vagary of the atmosphere. Significant anisotropy of turbulence energy spectrum characteristics in the field of the external scale was revealed.
Nonlinear optics of the atmosphere
On the basis of complex theoretical, laboratory and natural studies new direction of atmospheric-optical studies is created nonlinear optics of the atmosphere. At IAO SB RAS a problem is discussed on losses of energy and directivities of intensive laser bunches in atmosphere for conditions longitudinal routes of different direction and free optical weather. Basic possibilities of using nonlinear and coherent interactions as a physical base of new methods of laser and opto-acoustic sounding of the parameters of atmosphere.
Optical sounding of the atmosphere
One of the most important and fruitful stages during more than 30 year history of the Institute is connected with the development of fundamental bases, methods and in basic new technical facilities for remote sounding of the atmosphere. At the Institute the layered system of global monitoring of high-altitude stratification of opto-physical parameters of atmosphere was created on the basis of the unique complex of stationary and mobile installation and instruments of overland -, marine -, air - and space basing for remote ecological and meteorological monitoring, ensuring obtaining of information practically on all parameters of the atmosphere. This system basse is the unique Siberian Lidar Station, to which methods of laser and optical sounding are used to determine vertical distribution of ozone and nitrogen oxides up to heights 50 km; vertical distribution of aerosol, including its microphysical parameters, in the troposphere and stratosphere; vertical distribution of temperature for the range of heights of 3-75 km.
Considered the Earth's ozone layer destruction problems, studies, conducted on the Siberian Lidar Station were made for the first time to the study geophysical and physical-chemical mechanisms of atmospheric ozone layer variability. Experimental results have allowed one to study the correlative relationship of distribution of stratospheric ozone, aerosol and temperature; to define regularities of variability of stratospheric aerosol and ozone both in background conditions, and in conditions of outraging a stratosphere as a result volcanic eruptions. After the powerful eruption of vulcan Pinatubo in 1991 in the stratospheric layers with the increased contents of volcanic aerosol processes of "ozon depression" are discovered and explored as a result of heterogeous reactions of molecules of ozone on surfaces of sulphuric acid aerosol. It is shown that the main contribution to variability of stratospheric ozone, including its anomalous reduction, as well as contributes to variability of meteorological and circulational processes in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Accumulated research potential and experience of deciding the complex problems has allowed the Institute to proceed with planned and systematic studying a problem of global chane of environment and climate.
At IAO SB RAS developped original theory of carrying a radiating in the stochastic inhomogeneous clouds, allowed to develop a new scheme an parametrization of radiative characteristics of broken cloud, greatly perfecting radiation blocks of atmosphere general circulations models and give a partial explanation of the problem of cloud anomalous radiation absorption.