We present an alternative method for determining the total offset in lidar signal created by a daytime background-illumination component and electrical or digital offset. Unlike existing techniques, here the signal square-range-correction procedure is initially performed using the total signal recorded by lidar, without subtraction of the offset component. While performing the square-range correction, the lidar-signal monotonic change due to the molecular component of the atmosphere is simultaneously compensated. After these corrections, the total offset is found by determining the slope of the above transformed signal versus a function that is defined as a ratio of the squared range and two molecular scattering components, the backscatter and transmittance. The slope is determined over a far end of the measurement range where aerosol loading is zero or, at least, minimum. An important aspect of this method is that the presence of a moderate aerosol loading over the far end does not increase dramatically the error in determining the lidar-signal offset. The comparison of the new technique with a conventional technique of the total-offset estimation is made using simulated and experimental data. The one-directional and multiangle measurements are analyzed and specifics in the estimate of the uncertainty limits due to remaining shifts in the inverted lidar signals are discussed. The use of the new technique allows a more accurate estimate of the signal constant offset, and accordingly, yields more accurate lidar-signal inversion results.
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