Microphysical particle parameters from extinction and backscatter lidar data by inversion with regularization: simulation

D. Mueller, U. Wandinger, A. Ansmann

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183 Citations (Scopus)


A sensitivity study with an inversion scheme that permits one to retrieve physical parameters of tropospheric particle size distributions, e.g., effective radius, volume, surface-area, and number concentrations, as well as the mean complex refractive index from backscatter and extinction coefficients at multiple wavelengths is presented. The optical data for the analysis are derived from Mie-scattering calculations for monomodal and bimodal logarithmic-normal distributions in the particle size range between 0.01 and 10 mu m. The complex refractive index is taken between 1.33 and 1.8 in the real part and between 0 and 0.1 in the imaginary part. The choice of these parameters takes account of properties of optically active atmospheric particles. The wavelengths were chosen at 355, 400, 532, 710, 800, and 1064 nm for the backscatter and at 355 and 532 nm for the extinction data, which are the available wavelengths of the two lidar systems at the Institute for Tropospheric Research. Cases of erroneous optical data of the order of as much as 20%, an unknown refractive index, which may also be wavelength and size dependent, as well as the a priori unknown modality of the particle size distribution were considered. It is shown that both extinction channels are necessary for determining the above-mentioned parameters within reasonable limits, i.e., effective radius, surface-area, and volume concentrations to an accuracy of +/-50%, the real part of the complex refractive index to +/-0.1, and the imaginary part to +/-50%. The number concentration may have errors larger than 50%. The overall performance of the inversion scheme permits the evaluation of experimental data on a routine basis. (C) 1999 Optical Society of America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2358-2368
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 1999




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