Abstract

The elastic, two-component algorithm is the most common inversion method for retrieving the aerosol backscatter coefficient from ground- or space-based backscatter lidar systems. A quasi-analytical formulation of the statistical error associated to the aerosol backscatter coefficient caused by the use of real, noise-corrupted lidar signals in the two-component algorithm is presented. The error expression depends on the signal-to-noise ratio along the inversion path and takes into account “instantaneous” effects, the effect of the signal-to-noise ratio at the range where the aerosol backscatter coefficient is being computed, as well as “memory” effects, namely, both the effect of the signal-to-noise ratio in the cell where the inversion is started and the cumulative effect of the noise between that cell and the actual cell where the aerosol backscatter coefficient is evaluated. An example is shown to illustrate how the “instantaneous” effect is reduced when averaging the noise-contaminated signal over a number of cells around the range where the inversion is started.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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