A fitting procedure for cloud lidar data processing is shown that is based on the computation of the first three moments of the vertical-backscattering (or -extinction) profile. Single-peak clouds or single cloud layers are approximated to asymmetrical Gaussians. The algorithm is particularly stable with respect to noise and processing errors, and it is much faster than the equivalent least-squares approach. Multilayer clouds can easily be treated as a sum of single asymmetrical Gaussian peaks. The method is suitable for cloud-shape parametrization in noisy lidar signatures (like those expected from satellite lidars). It also permits an improvement of cloud radiative-property computations that are based on huge lidar data sets for which storage and careful examination of single lidar profiles can’t be carried out.
© 1995 Optical Society of America
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