For 44 years now, the International Laser Radar Conference (ILRC) traditionally remains the world recognized venue where scientists and engineers from all over the world working in the field of the optical remote sensing applied to the atmospheres of earth and other planets and the oceans, meet together to report on new results and developments and obtain a comprehensive and state-of-the-art knowledge at a vast range of topics (technology, devices, applications, education) associated with the laser radar (lidar) technique. Additionally, ILRC remains an enjoyable and stimulating meeting at which the international lidar community can get together to discuss and even argue over controversial topics and future directions. A primary focus of the Conference is to encourage young scientists to attend and present work, ensuring the vitality of the field of laser remote sensing.

The Conference is held biennially under the oversight of the International Coordination-group for Laser Atmospheric Studies (ICLAS - International Coordination group for Laser Atmospheric Studies) and of the International Radiation Commission (IRC). The 2012 Conference will be co-hosted and supported by the National Technical University of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing of the National Observatory of Athens, and the Mariolopoulos-Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences, Greece. It is also supported by the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and many national and international partners and agencies.

Recent ILRC Conferences reported on an increased research activity in areas such as space-based lidars, advances in lidar components and techniques, co-analysis of data from ground-based and airborne/space-borne lidars coupled with other data from ground or airborne/space-borne sensors, studies of the atmospheric dynamics and structure, middle and upper atmosphere physics and chemistry, measurements of atmospheric parameters (density, temperature, humidity, winds, turbulence etc.), measurements and characterization of climate-change and air pollution related aerosols, clouds and trace gases, and finally on the spread of lidar network activities throughout the world and assimilation of observations into forecast models.

The 26th International Laser Radar Conference (ILRC 26) will be held at Porto Heli, Peloponnesus, Greece on June 25-29, 2012.