A solution of the single-scattering lidar equation requires a relationship between the coefficients of backscatter β(r) and extinction σ(r) to be of the formβ(r) = C2σ(r)k, where C2 and k are parameters independent of range r. The sensitivity of a particular lidar inversion algorithm to uncertainties in C2 and k is investigated using a measured lidar return which indicated the atmosphere to be essentially horizontally homogeneous during a reduced visibility condition. Starting with the measured power returned as a function of range, extinction coefficients and average visibilities are calculated using the inversion algorithm for different values of C2 and k and compared with those inferred from the lidar return using the slope method. The calculated extinction coefficients (and visibilities) were found to be extremely sensitive to uncertainties in C2. This questions the usefulness of the lidar inversion algorithm for aerosol extinction applications when the air mass characteristics change along the measurement path.
© 1985 Optical Society of America
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