This paper discusses the problem of the reliability with which the characteristics of the atmospheric aerosol are determined from the results of measurements of low-power backscattered signals. It is especially important to solve this problem in order to interpret weak lidar signals obtained from a satellite. The errors in the determination of the desired characteristics substantially depend on the algorithms used when processing the measured signals. Algorithms based on a new, rigorous solution of the lidar equation, including the power of the background illumination, are used to analyze the data. This solution is used to determine the attenuation factor of the atmosphere. The echo signals received when the one-dimensional atmosphere is probed from one point of space are treated. Using experimental data, the errors of determining the desired characteristics are analyzed. The results of the analysis showed that efficient algorithms for processing low-power signals are found, based on a new, rigorous solution of the lidar equation.
© 2007 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article