A variational method to retrieve the extinction profile in liquid clouds using multiple field-of-view lidar
Pounder, N., Hogan, R., Varnai, T., Battaglia, A. and Cahalan, R. (2012) A variational method to retrieve the extinction profile in liquid clouds using multiple field-of-view lidar. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 51 (2). pp. 350-365. ISSN 1558-8432
To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/JAMC-D-10-05007.1
Liquid clouds play a profound role in the global radiation budget but it is difficult to remotely retrieve their vertical profile. Ordinary narrow field-of-view (FOV) lidars receive a strong return from such clouds but the information is limited to the first few optical depths. Wideangle multiple-FOV lidars can isolate radiation scattered multiple times before returning to the instrument, often penetrating much deeper into the cloud than the singly-scattered signal. These returns potentially contain information on the vertical profile of extinction coefficient, but are challenging to interpret due to the lack of a fast radiative transfer model for simulating them. This paper describes a variational algorithm that incorporates a fast forward model based on the time-dependent two-stream approximation, and its adjoint. Application of the algorithm to simulated data from a hypothetical airborne three-FOV lidar with a maximum footprint width of 600m suggests that this approach should be able to retrieve the extinction structure down to an optical depth of around 6, and total opticaldepth up to at least 35, depending on the maximum lidar FOV. The convergence behavior of Gauss-Newton and quasi-Newton optimization schemes are compared. We then present results from an application of the algorithm to observations of stratocumulus by the 8-FOV airborne “THOR” lidar. It is demonstrated how the averaging kernel can be used to diagnose the effective vertical resolution of the retrieved profile, and therefore the depth to which information on the vertical structure can be recovered. This work enables exploitation of returns from spaceborne lidar and radar subject to multiple scattering more rigorously than previously possible.