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Appl Opt. 1999 Apr 20;38(12):2616-24.

Backscattering measurements of atmospheric aerosols at CO2 laser wavelengths: implications of aerosol spectral structure on differential-absorption lidar retrievals of molecular species.

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  • 1Science and Technology Corporation, 500 Edgewood Road, Suite 205, Edgewood, Maryland 21040, USA.


The volume backscattering coefficients of atmospheric aerosol were measured with a tunable CO2 lidar system at various wavelengths in Utah (a desert environment) along a horizontal path a few meters above the ground. In deducing the aerosol backscattering, a deconvolution (to remove the smearing effect of the long CO2 lidar pulse and the lidar limited bandwidth) and a constrained-slope method were employed. The spectral shape beta(lambda) was similar for all the 13 measurements during a 3-day period. A mean aerosol backscattering-wavelength dependence beta(lambda) was computed from the measurements and used to estimate the error Delta(CL) (concentration-path-length product) in differential-absorption lidar measurements for various gases caused by the systematic aerosol differential backscattering and the error that is due to fluctuations in the aerosol backscattering. The water-vapor concentration-path-length product CL and the average concentration C = <CL>/L for a path length L computed from the range-resolved lidar measurements is consistently in good agreement with the water-vapor concentration measured by a meteorological station. However, I was unable to deduce, reliably, the range-resolved water-vapor concentration C(r), which is the derivative of the range-dependent product CL, because of the effect of residual noise caused mainly by errors in the deconvolved lidar measurements.

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