Single—frequency methods of laser sensing of aerosol atmosphere are discussed in detail in this paper. Basic data on spatiotemporal variability of natural aerosols are presented and the relation of its variations to the atmospheric turbulence are analyzed. Capabilities of ground—based and airborne lidars are explored in such applications as mapping, the large—scale transport of aerosol pollutants, and the determination of power of local sources of atmospheric emissions. Incoherent methods of sensing altitude profiles of horizontal wind velocity are described. Laser soundings of cloud fields with a spaceborne laser range finder in 1982—1983 are reported, in the context of discussion of aerosol measurements from space.