A ceilometer is a device that uses a laser or other light sources for remote sensing of the atmosphere. Ceilometers were primarily used in aviation meteorology for detecting cloud layers and determining their base height. However, it has recently been shown that ceilometers can also provide vertical profiles of aerosol backscattering thus constituting an important source of data for dust monitoring, dust model evaluation and eventually for data assimilation.
A first catalog of the global distribution of lidars and ceilometers has been recently published on the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) web page, collecting the work led by Werner Thomas. also shows quicklooks supplied by some instruments.