Abstract

Atmospheric lidar techniques for the measurement of wind, temperature, and optical properties of aerosols rely on the exact knowledge of the spectral line shape of the scattered laser light on molecules. We report on spontaneous Rayleigh–Brillouin scattering measurements in the ultraviolet at a scattering angle of 90° on N2 and on dry and moist air. The measured line shapes are compared to the Tenti S6 model, which is shown to describe the scattering line shapes in air at atmospheric pressures with small but significant deviations. We demonstrate that the line profiles of N2 and air under equal pressure and temperature conditions differ significantly, and that this difference can be described by the S6 model. Moreover, we show that even a high water vapor content in air up to a volume fraction of 3.6 vol.% has no influence on the line shape of the scattered light. The results are of relevance for the future spaceborne lidars on ADM-Aeolus (Atmospheric Dynamics Mission) and EarthCARE (Earth Clouds, Aerosols, and Radiation Explorer).

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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