A lidar instrument was developed to make simultaneous measurements at three distinct wavelengths in the visible and near infrared at 0.532, 1.064, and 1.54 μm with high cross-sectional calibration accuracy. Aerosol and cloud backscatter cross sections were acquired during November and December 1989 and May and June 1990 by the NASA DC-8 aircraft as part of the Global Backscatter Experiment. The instrument, methodology, and measurement results are described. A Nd:YAG laser produced 1.064- and 0.532-μm energy. The 1.54-μm transmitted pulse was generated by Raman-shifted downconversion of the 1.064-μm pulse through a Raman cell pressured with methane gas. The lidar could be pointed in the nadir or zenith direction from the aircraft. A hard-target-based calibration procedure was used to obtain the ratio of the system calibration between the three wavelengths, and the absolute calibration was referenced to the 0.532-μm lidar molecular backscatter cross section for the clearest scattering regions. From the relative wavelength calibration, the aerosol backscatter cross sections at the longer wavelengths are resolved for values as small as 1% of the molecular cross section. Backscatter measurement accuracies are better than 10<sup>−9</sup> (m sr)<sup>−1</sup> at 1.064 and 1.54 μm. Results from the Pacific Ocean region of the multiwavelength backscatter dependence are presented. Results show extensive structure and variation for the aerosol cross sections. The range of observed aerosol cross section is over 4 orders of magnitude, from less than 10<sup>−9</sup> (m sr)<sup>−1</sup> to greater than 10<sup>−5</sup> (m sr)<sup>−1</sup>.
© 1997 Optical Society of America
James D. Spinhirne, S. Chudamani, John F. Cavanaugh, and Jack L. Bufton, "Aerosol and cloud backscatter at 1.06, 1.54, and 0.53 μm by airborne hard-target-calibrated Nd:YAG /methane Raman lidar," Appl. Opt. 36, 3475-3490 (1997)