Retrieval of aerosol parameters from multiwavelength lidar: Investigation of underlying inverse mathematical problem

Eduard V. Chemyakin, Sharon P. Burton, Alexei Kolgotin, D. Mueller, Chris A. Hostetler, Richard A. Ferrare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


We present an investigation of some important mathematical and numerical features related to the retrieval of microphysical parameters (complex refractive index, single-scattering albedo, effective radius, total number, surface area, and volume concentrations) of ambient aerosol particles using multiwavelength Raman or high-spectral-resolution lidar. Using simple examples we prove the non-uniqueness of an inverse solution to be the major source of the
retrieval difficulties. Some theoretically possible ways of partially compensating for these difficulties are offered. For instance, an increase in the variety of input data via combination of lidar and certain passive remote sensing instruments will be helpful to reduce the error of estimation of complex refractive index. Also we demonstrate significant interference between Aitken and accumulation aerosol modes in our inversion algorithm and confirm that the solutions can be better constrained by limiting the particle radii. Applying a combination
of analytical approach and numerical simulations, we explain statistical behavior of the microphysical size parameters. We reveal and clarify why the total surface area concentration is consistent even in the presence of non-unique solution sets and is on average the most stable parameter to be estimated, as long as at least one extinction optical coefficient is employed.
We find that for a selected particle size distributions the total surface area and volume concentrations can be quickly retrieved with fair precision using only a single extinction coefficients in a simple arithmetical relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Article number253992
Number of pages27
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Retrieval of aerosol parameters from multiwavelength lidar: Investigation of underlying inverse mathematical problem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this