The feasibility of using a generalized stochastic inversion methodology to estimate aerosol size distributions accurately by use of spectral extinction, backscatter data, or both is examined. The stochastic method used, inverse Monte Carlo (IMC), is verified with both simulated and experimental data from aerosols composed of spherical dielectrics with a known refractive index. Various levels of noise are superimposed on the data such that the effect of noise on the stability and results of inversion can be determined. Computational results show that the application of the IMC technique to inversion of spectral extinction or backscatter data or both can produce good estimates of aerosol size distributions. Specifically, for inversions for which both spectral extinction and backscatter data are used, the IMC technique was extremely accurate in determining particle size distributions well outside the wavelength range. Also, the IMC inversion results proved to be stable and accurate even when the data had significant noise, with a signal-to-noise ratio of 3.
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