Articles | Volume 6, issue 8
Research article
20 Aug 2013
Research article |  | 20 Aug 2013

Enhancement of aerosol characterization using synergy of lidar and sun-photometer coincident observations: the GARRLiC algorithm

A. Lopatin, O. Dubovik, A. Chaikovsky, P. Goloub, T. Lapyonok, D. Tanré, and P. Litvinov

Abstract. This paper presents the GARRLiC algorithm (Generalized Aerosol Retrieval from Radiometer and Lidar Combined data) that simultaneously inverts coincident lidar and radiometer observations and derives a united set of aerosol parameters. Such synergetic retrieval results in additional enhancements in derived aerosol properties because the back-scattering observations by lidar improve sensitivity to the columnar properties of aerosol, while radiometric observations provide sufficient constraints on aerosol amount and type that are generally missing in lidar signals.

GARRLiC is based on the AERONET algorithm, improved to invert combined observations by radiometer and multi-wavelength elastic lidar observations. The algorithm is set to derive not only the vertical profile of total aerosol concentration but it also differentiates between the contributions of fine and coarse modes of aerosol. The detailed microphysical properties are assumed height independent and different for each mode and derived as a part of the retrieval. The GARRLiC inversion retrieves vertical distribution of both fine and coarse aerosol concentrations as well as the size distribution and complex refractive index for each mode.

The potential and limitations of the method are demonstrated by the series of sensitivity tests. The effects of presence of lidar data and random noise on aerosol retrievals are studied. Limited sensitivity to the properties of the fine mode as well as dependence of retrieval accuracy on the aerosol optical thickness were found. The practical outcome of the approach is illustrated by applications of the algorithm to the real lidar and radiometer observations obtained over Minsk AERONET site.