Abstract

Ground based vertical path differential absorption measurements were obtained up to a height of 1.5 km with a CO2 lidar transmitting alternatively on the R(20) (10.247-μm) and R(18) (10.260-μm) lines during daylight in conditions of both strong and weak temperature inversions. The differential absorption between these lines for typical middle latitude lower atmosphere water vapor concentrations appears to be well suited to this type of measurement as the power loss on the more absorbed backscattered line [R(20)] is not too great as to unduly restrict the operating range, while the power differential is still sufficiently large to be readily measureable. In one set of measurements a strong temperature inversion at a height of 1 km resulted in a rapid vertical lapse in aerosol concentration with a consequent loss of SNR on the returns and severe distortion to the differential absorption profiles at this level. Water vapor profiles were derived from all measurements except in the region of the strong temperature inversion where the atmospheric backscattering cross section decayed rapidly. Reasonable results were obtained through the weak inversion region. The measurement capability of the lidar was found to be restricted by the length of the laser pulse tail and an inadequate signal-to-noise performance in regions of strong temperature inversions due to the associated decreases in aerosol concentration.

© 1983 Optical Society of America

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