[OPTICAL REVIEW Vol. 2, No. 5 (1995) 394-400]

Lidar Multiple Scattering in Water Droplet Clouds: Toward an Improved Treatment

Kenneth SASSEN and Hongjie ZHAO

Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 USA

(Received October 11, 1994; Accepted June 26, 1995)

Although it has long been recognized that the effects of photon multiple scattering generally need to be accounted for in the analysis of lidar cloud returns, this is a difficult problem and current approaches are still rudimentary. The multiple scattering process is controlled by the size of the lidar beamwidth and the distance to the cloud, which jointly determine the lidar footprint, but cloud microphysical content (i.e., particle size, concentration, and shape) exerts a strong influence on the range distribution and depolarization of the returned energy. Since clouds are inherently inhomogeneous with height, it is our premise that vertically homogeneous cloud simulations based on idealized particle size distributions lead to misleading results. We offer a more realistic approach based on the contents of growing water droplet clouds predicted by a sophisticated adiabatic cloud model, which are offered for use as new standard vertically-inhomogeneous cloud models. Lidar returned signal and depolarization profiles derived from our analytical double-scattering method are given for intercomparison purposes.

Key words : lidar, multiple scattering, cloud studies, depolarization