Use of rotational Raman measurements in multiwavelength aerosol lidar for evaluation of particle backscattering and extinction
Abstract. Vibrational Raman scattering from nitrogen is commonly used in aerosol lidars for evaluation of particle backscattering (β) and extinction (α) coefficients. However, at mid-visible wavelengths, particularly in the daytime, previous measurements have possessed low signal-to-noise ratio. Also, vibrational scattering is characterized by a significant frequency shift of the Raman component, so for the calculation of α and β information about the extinction Ångström exponent is needed. Simulation results presented in this study demonstrate that ambiguity in the choice of Ångström exponent can be the a significant source of uncertainty in the calculation of backscattering coefficients when optically thick aerosol layers are considered. Both of these issues are addressed by the use of pure-rotational Raman (RR) scattering, which is characterized by a higher cross section compared to nitrogen vibrational scattering, and by a much smaller frequency shift, which essentially removes the sensitivity to changes in the Ångström exponent. We describe a practical implementation of rotational Raman measurements in an existing Mie–Raman lidar to obtain aerosol extinction and backscattering at 532 nm. A 2.3 nm width interference filter was used to select a spectral range characterized by low temperature sensitivity within the anti-Stokes branch of the RR spectrum. Simulations demonstrate that the temperature dependence of the scattering cross section does not exceed 1.5 % in the 230–300 K range, making correction for this dependence quite easy. With this upgrade, the NASA GSFC multiwavelength Raman lidar has demonstrated useful α532 measurements and was used for regular observations. Examples of lidar measurements and inversion of optical data to the particle microphysics are given.