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A Ceilometer is a handy tool that measures the thickness, height and base (which is considered to be the lowest part) of a cloud/clouds. They can also be used to measure the concentration of aerosols in the atmosphere. The name of these instruments is actually derived from the Latin word for sky (Caelum), quite fitting considering the primary purpose they serve. In a nutshell, Ceilometers work by using a specific light source or a laser to measure the coverage of clouds or concentration of aerosols – these tools have numerous applications ranging from airport use and meteorology through to renewable energy.

Keen to learn more? Read on for a further, in-depth look at the science behind Ceilometers and their application throughout industry.

Different Types Of Ceilometers

There are a few types of Ceilometers, namely the scanning receiver and the rotating transmitter. These devices can also be categorised by the kind of light they use to function – whether that be laser or optical.

Scanning Receivers

These types of Ceilometers use a different light transmitter which ensures that beams travel vertically. The receiver is usually placed a bit of distance away while the parabolic collector scans the vertical beam non-stop. This particular setup is designed to locate the point where the cloud and the light base intersect.

Once the receiver finds the point of reflection, the Ceilometer determines the vertical angle of that reflection which it calculates using trigonometry, resulting in a final cloud ceiling-height calculation.

The scanning receiver Ceilometers are also known as Laser Ceilometers.

Rotating Transmitters

Alternatively, rotating transmitters have a separate receiver which is fastened, meaning reflections are aimed directly overhead. The transmitter then scans the sky to collect the missing data and once the beam meets the cloud base directly above the receiver, the light reflects downwards, allowing the meter to detect and measure it.

Rotating transmitter Ceilometers are also known as Optical Drum Ceilometers.

How Do Ceilometers Work?

Let’s take a second to discuss the science behind Ceilometers, with the explanations separated into Optical and Laser Ceilometer types.

Optical Ceilometers use triangulation to determine how high a spot of light is when projected onto the cloud’s base. The detector, which is typically situated a fixed distance from the projector, uses a light source-detector that is placed vertically. Once the light returns from the cloud’s base, the sensor detects it and it takes note of the angles in order to calculate the height.

On the other hand, unlike Optical Ceilometers, Laser types consist of detectors and receivers placed together. The device sends a fast laser pulse into the atmosphere and as the laser beam travels through, small light fractions are spread around by aerosols, leading to Mie scattering. A tiny amount of the light fractions are then directed back to the LIDAR receiver at which point you can determine the amount of time it took for the signal to be received, which is how the calculation is made.

How Can Ceilometers Help?

Ceilometers have a wide range of applications across a host of different industries. Some of the more common and critical applications include:

  • Volcanic ash detection
  • Measuring aerosols in our atmosphere
  • Cloud data reporting in aviation
  • Measuring cloud formations
  • Measuring atmospheric structure
  • Measuring gas presence and gas concentration
  • Taking note of wind turbulence and wind speed
  • Detecting wind currents
  • Detecting any changes in wind conditions
  • Renewable energy

What Should I Consider When Looking At Ceilometers?

If you’re looking for a high-quality Ceilometer for sale, it’s essential to understand how to choose the right one – The market isn’t overly-saturated, so making the right choice won’t be very difficult.

The main thing to consider is why you need the equipment since different types of Ceilometers fit specific purposes and outcomes. These devices aren’t cheap everyday items, ensuring that you get the right one should be your top priority. A few questions to consider before finalising your purchase:

  • Why do I need it?
  • Is it for personal or industrial use?
  • How powerful should it be?
  • What operating range do I need?
  • Which features should it include?

Once you’ve answered all these questions, the next step is to determine where to buy one.

Where Can I Buy a Cloud Ceilometer?

It’s extremely important to look for reliable, high-quality service providers when it comes to equipment of this nature. If you’re based in Australia – whether it be in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Western Australia, or Victoria – we invite you to pay our team of friendly professionals at Thomson Group a visit in person at one of our handy-to-reach locations.

We offer a variety of industry-standard Ceilometers that have gone through extensive quality assurance – Thomson Group only work with carefully-selected suppliers and offer full, pre-sale and post-sale support which includes delivery, installation, as well as servicing. Give our team a call today!

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