Lidar ratio and depolarization ratio for cirrus clouds

Wei-Nai Chen, Chih-Wei Chiang, Jan-Bai Nee
Applied Optics 2002 October 20, 41 (30): 6470-6
We report on studies of the lidar and the depolarization ratios for cirrus clouds. The optical depth and effective lidar ratio are derived from the transmission of clouds, which is determined by comparing the backscattering signals at the cloud base and cloud top. The lidar signals were fitted to a background atmospheric density profile outside the cloud region to warrant the linear response of the return signals with the scattering media. An average lidar ratio, 29 +/- 12 sr, has been found for all clouds measured in 1999 and 2000. The height and temperature dependences ofthe lidar ratio, the optical depth, and the depolarization ratio were investigated and compared with results of LITE and PROBE. Cirrus clouds detected near the tropopause are usually optically thin and mostly subvisual. Clouds with the largest optical depths were found near 12 km with a temperature of approximately -55 degrees C. The multiple-scattering effect is considered for clouds with high optical depths, and this effect lowers the lidar ratios compared with a single-scattering condition. Lidar ratios are in the 20-40 range for clouds at heights of 12.5-15 km and are smaller than approximately 30 in height above 15 km. Clouds are usually optically thin for temperatures below approximately -65 degrees C, and in this region the optical depth tends to decrease with height. The depolarization ratio is found to increase with a height at 11-15 km and smaller than 0.3 above 16 km. The variation in the depolarization ratio with the lidar ratio was also reported. The lidar and depolarization ratios were discussed in terms of the types of hexagonal ice crystals.

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