Abstract

A specially developed method is proposed to retrieve the particle volume distribution, the mean refractive index, and other important physical parameters, e.g., the effective radius, volume, surface area, and number concentrations of tropospheric and stratospheric aerosols, from optical data by use of multiple wavelengths. This algorithm requires neither a priori knowledge of the analytical shape of the distribution nor an initial guess of the distribution. As a result, even bimodal and multimodal distributions can be retrieved without any advance knowledge of the number of modes. The nonlinear ill-posed inversion is achieved by means of a hybrid method combining regularization by discretization, variable higher-order B-spline functions and a truncated singular-value decomposition. The method can be used to handle different lidar devices that work with various values and numbers of wavelengths. It is shown, to my knowledge for the first time, that only one extinction and three backscatter coefficients are sufficient for the solution. Moreover, measurement errors up to 20% are allowed. This result could be achieved by a judicious fusion of different properties of three suitable regularization parameters. Finally, numerical results with an additional unknown refractive index show the possibility of successfully recovering both unknowns simultaneously from the lidar data: the aerosol volume distribution and the refractive index.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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