Abstract

Lidars with multiple fields of view (MFOVs) are promising tools for gaining information on cloud particle size. We perform a study of the information content of MFOV lidar data with the use of eigenvalue analysis. The approach we have developed permits an understanding of the main features of MFOV lidars and provides a way to relate the accuracy of particle size estimation with the measurement uncertainty and the scattering geometry such as the cloud-base height and the lidar sounding depth. Second-order scattering computations are performed for an extended range of particle sizes and for a wide range of lidar fields of view (FOVs). The results obtained allow us to specify the areas of possible applications of these lidars in cloud studies. Comparison of results obtained with polarized and cross-polarized scattered components demonstrate that the cross-polarized signal should provide a more stable retrieval and is preferable when double scattering is highly dominant. Our analysis allows for the estimation of the optimal number of FOVs in the system and their angular distribution, so this work can be a useful tool for practical MFOV lidar design.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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