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Understanding the Roles of Aerosols and Clouds in Environment, Meteorology and Climate with Advanced Lidar Remote Sensing Techniques

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Atmospheric Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2023) | Viewed by 11015

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Aerospace Science and Technology, School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
Interests: lidar techniques; lidar retrievals; laser systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
Interests: lidar techniques; aerosol properties; air pollution; atmospheric turbulence
School of Electronic Information, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
Interests: lidar remote sensing of aerosols and clouds; aerosol-cloud interaction

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
Interests: atmospheric lidar techniques; lidar retrievals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There has been an increasing interest in atmospheric aerosols and clouds given their confirmed impact on meteorology, climate change and air quality, and how there is a large amount of uncertainty brought on by the variability in spatial and temporal distributions of aerosols, as well as aerosol–cloud and aerosol–planetary boundary layer (PBL) interactions. Advanced Lidar remote sensing techniques with different platforms, data quality control schemes and novel retrieval algorithms allow for the yielding of the vertical profiles of aerosol properties with a high temporal resolution at the regional and global scale. These observations have also been employed to further increase the current knowledge of aerosols, clouds or the PBL, as well as their natural and human-driven processes. This Special Issue entitled, “Understanding the Roles of Aerosols and Clouds in Environment, Meteorology and Climate with Advanced Lidar Remote Sensing Techniques”, aims to report any new Lidar technique developments, new retrieval algorithms alongside their applications, featured observations for aerosols, clouds and their processes, and findings on aerosol-cloud and aerosol-planetary boundary layer interactions. Both comprehensive reviews and research articles on aerosol and cloud observations are welcome to be submitted that include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Novel instruments;
  • Measurement methods and algorithms;
  • Vertical profiles of aerosol optical and microphysical properties;
  • Aerosol emissions, transport and removal;
  • Cloud macro- and micro-physical properties and cloud processes;
  • Aerosol–cloud and aerosol–planetary boundary layer (PBL) interactions;
  • Spaceborne, airborne, shipborne and ground-based lidar observations for featured areas;
  • Measurement campaigns of wildfire;
  • Volcanic eruptions;
  • Dust storms and extreme air pollution.

Prof. Dr. Xuan Wang
Dr. Longlong Wang
Dr. Yun He
Dr. Zhenping Yin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • aerosols
  • clouds
  • vertical profiles
  • lidar
  • aerosol-cloud interactions

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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5 pages, 187 KiB  
Editorial
Understanding the Roles of Aerosols and Clouds in Environment, Meteorology and Climate with Advanced Lidar Remote Sensing Techniques
by Zhenping Yin, Longlong Wang, Yun He and Xuan Wang
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(3), 593; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16030593 - 04 Feb 2024
Viewed by 751
Abstract
This Special Issue lists nine publications, covering the topics of advanced atmospheric lidar techniques, lidar retrievals, and lidar applications. The investigations listed here are diverse, but they are all focused on atmospheric lidars. Some urgent issues, for instance low blind zone detection and [...] Read more.
This Special Issue lists nine publications, covering the topics of advanced atmospheric lidar techniques, lidar retrievals, and lidar applications. The investigations listed here are diverse, but they are all focused on atmospheric lidars. Some urgent issues, for instance low blind zone detection and polarization detection at a near-infrared wavelength band, were discussed and explored. The results are helpful for extending atmospheric lidar applications. In terms of lidar retrievals, a planetary boundary layer height retrieval and an automatic lidar retrieval for aerosol optical properties were investigated in some of the publications, which can strengthen the atmospheric lidar capabilities. For lidar applications, a detailed analysis of the evolution of stratospheric aerosol and dust–cloud interactions was presented. In this Editorial, the articles published within this Special Issue are reviewed to highlight their innovative contributions and main research findings. Full article

Research

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27 pages, 19128 KiB  
Article
Aerosol Optical Properties Retrieved by Polarization Raman Lidar: Methodology and Strategy of a Quality-Assurance Tool
by Song Mao, Zhenping Yin, Longlong Wang, Yubin Wei, Zhichao Bu, Yubao Chen, Yaru Dai, Detlef Müller and Xuan Wang
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(1), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16010207 - 04 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
Aerosol optical properties retrieved using polarization Raman lidar observations play an increasingly vital role in meteorology and environmental protection. The quality of the data products directly affects the impact of relevant scientific applications. However, the quality of aerosol optical properties retrieved from polarization [...] Read more.
Aerosol optical properties retrieved using polarization Raman lidar observations play an increasingly vital role in meteorology and environmental protection. The quality of the data products directly affects the impact of relevant scientific applications. However, the quality of aerosol optical properties retrieved from polarization Raman lidar signals is difficult to assess. Various factors, such as hardware system performance, retrieval algorithm, and meteorological conditions at the observation site, influence data quality. In this study, we propose a method that allows for assessing the reliability of aerosol optical properties derived from polarization Raman lidar observations. We analyze the factors that affect the reliability of retrieved aerosol optical properties. We use scoring methods combined with a weight-assignment scheme to evaluate the quality of the retrieved aerosol optical properties. The scores and weights of each factor are arranged based on our analysis of a simulation study and the characteristics of each factor. We developed an automatic retrieval algorithm that allows for deriving homogeneous aerosol optical data sets. We also assess with this method the quality of retrieved aerosol optical properties obtained with different polarization Raman lidars under different measurement scenarios. Our results show that the proposed quality assurance method can distinguish the reliability of the retrieved aerosol optical properties. Full article
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21 pages, 11514 KiB  
Article
Investigating a Persistent Stratospheric Aerosol Layer Observed over Southern Europe during 2019
by Kalliopi Artemis Voudouri, Konstantinos Michailidis, Maria-Elissavet Koukouli, Samuel Rémy, Antje Inness, Ghassan Taha, Georgia Peletidou, Nikolaos Siomos, Dimitrios Balis and Mark Parrington
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(22), 5394; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15225394 - 17 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 903
Abstract
A persistent stratospheric aerosol layer first appeared during July 2019 above Thessaloniki, Greece (40.5°N, 22.9°E). It was initially at 12 km and, during August 2019, was even up to 20 km, with increased thickness and reduced attenuated backscatter levels till the end of [...] Read more.
A persistent stratospheric aerosol layer first appeared during July 2019 above Thessaloniki, Greece (40.5°N, 22.9°E). It was initially at 12 km and, during August 2019, was even up to 20 km, with increased thickness and reduced attenuated backscatter levels till the end of the year. In this study, we analyze the geometrical and optical properties of this stratospheric layer, using ground-based Lidar measurements, CALIOP/CALIPSO & OMPS-LP space-borne observations, as well as CAMS/ECMWF assimilation experiments. The main aim of the paper is to present an overview of this atmospheric feature and to identify any temporal changes in the aerosol properties that would signify substantial changes in the composition of this long-lasting stratospheric plume over Thessaloniki. This aim is further enhanced by emphasizing the importance of the combined information based on active ground- and space-borne lidars, passive remote sensing, and models during the complex stratospheric aerosol conditions as those encountered during 2019. The layer’s origin is linked to the Raikoke volcanic eruption in the Kuril Islands in June 2019, yielding a particle linear depolarization ratio less than 0.05, while some indications exist that the intense forest fires at mid and high northern latitudes throughout the summer of 2019 also contributed to the persistent layer. We report that in July, mainly volcanic sulphate aerosol layers with a 1–3 km vertical extent were identified in the stratosphere at ~15 km over Thessaloniki, while after August and until the end of 2019, the plume heights showed a significant month-to-month variability and a broadening (with thickness greater than 3 km) towards lower altitudes. The aerosol optical thickness was found to be in the range between 0.004 and 0.125 (visible) and 0.001 and 0.095 (infrared) and the particle depolarization of the detected stratospheric plume was found to be 0.03 ± 0.04, indicative of spherical particles, such as sulphate aerosols. Full article
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17 pages, 4460 KiB  
Article
Particle Size Distributions and Extinction Coefficients of Aerosol Particles in Land Battlefield Environments
by Lijuan Gao, Huimin Chen, Guang Chen and Jiahao Deng
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(20), 5038; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15205038 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 938
Abstract
In land battlefield environments, aerosol particles can cause laser beams to undergo attenuation, thus deteriorating the operational performance of military laser devices. The particle size distribution (PSD) and extinction coefficient are key optical properties for assessing the attenuation characteristics of laser beams caused [...] Read more.
In land battlefield environments, aerosol particles can cause laser beams to undergo attenuation, thus deteriorating the operational performance of military laser devices. The particle size distribution (PSD) and extinction coefficient are key optical properties for assessing the attenuation characteristics of laser beams caused by aerosol particles. In this study, we employed the laser diffraction method to measure the PSDs of graphite smoke screen, copper powder smoke screen, iron powder smoke screen, ground dust, and soil explosion dust. We evaluated the goodness of fit of six common unimodal PSD functions and a bimodal lognormal PSD function employed for fitting these aerosol particles using the root mean square error (RMSE) and adjusted R2, and selected the optimal PSD function to evaluate their extinction coefficients in the laser wavelength range of 0.249~12 μm. The results showed that smoke screens, ground dust, and soil explosion dust exhibited particle size ranges of 0.7~50 µm, 1~400 µm, and 1.7~800 μm, respectively. The lognormal distribution had the best goodness of fit for fitting the PSDs of these aerosol particles in the six unimodal PSD functions, followed by the gamma and Rosin–Rammler distributions. For the bimodal aerosol particles with a lower span, the bimodal lognormal PSD functions exhibited the best goodness of fit. The graphite smoke screen exhibited the highest extinction coefficient, followed by the copper and iron powder smoke screens. In contrast, the ground dust and soil explosion dust exhibited the lowest extinction coefficients, reaching their minimum values at a wavelength of approximately 8.2 μm. This study provides a basis for analyzing and improving the detection and recognition performance of lasers in land battlefield environments. Full article
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9 pages, 3326 KiB  
Communication
Performance of Wide Dynamic Photomultiplier Applied in a Low Blind Zone Lidar
by Longlong Wang, Zhenping Yin, Bing Zhao, Song Mao, Qinlang Zhang, Yang Yi and Xuan Wang
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(18), 4404; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15184404 - 07 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 749
Abstract
Aerosol lidars play a vital role in the investigations of atmospheric pollution formation and meteorological processes. The intensity of lidar return signals in the near range changes much faster compared with the one in the far range, so extremely wide dynamic outputs from [...] Read more.
Aerosol lidars play a vital role in the investigations of atmospheric pollution formation and meteorological processes. The intensity of lidar return signals in the near range changes much faster compared with the one in the far range, so extremely wide dynamic outputs from the photomultiplier tube (PMT) are needed to avoid saturation in the near range. Usually, to obtain the wide dynamic range, simultaneously, a transient digitizer (Licel) is applied to provide an analog detection chain for strong signals and a photon counting (PC) detection chain for weak signals. However, the near-range signals are still often saturated due to the very high aerosol loading. In this paper, we proposed to use a new PMT module with eight orders of magnitude for a low blind zone lidar, which can achieve both analog and PC separately. A comprehensive evaluation of this potential PMT, which could perform better in near-range detection, compared with the ordinary PMT was tested, but similar features are maintained in the far-range. The photon count rate and signal-to-noise ratio were tested for both the new PMT module and the ordinary PMT module. The results showed that the new PMT module is useful to extend the dynamic range of lidar detection. Full article
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18 pages, 6762 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Aerosol Optical Depth and Forward Scattering in an Ultraviolet Band Based on Sky Radiometer Measurements
by Jingjing Liu, Mengping Li, Luyao Zhou, Jinming Ge, Jingtao Liu, Zhuqi Guo, Yangyang Liu, Jun Wang, Qing Yan and Dengxin Hua
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(17), 4342; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15174342 - 03 Sep 2023
Viewed by 950
Abstract
The sky-radiometer/sun-photometer is the most widely used instrument for obtaining aerosol optical depth (AOD) or aerosol optical properties worldwide. Due to the existence of field of view (FOV, 1°), the radiation received by the sky-radiometer includes the forward scattering in addition to direct [...] Read more.
The sky-radiometer/sun-photometer is the most widely used instrument for obtaining aerosol optical depth (AOD) or aerosol optical properties worldwide. Due to the existence of field of view (FOV, 1°), the radiation received by the sky-radiometer includes the forward scattering in addition to direct solar irradiance. This leads to more diffuse light errors of retrieved AODs, especially for shorter wavelength and heavily polluted weather conditions. Using simulation data of three typical aerosol particles (dust, soot, water-soluble), we first verified the accuracy of the Monte Carlo method for calculating the forward scattering effect. Based on the sky-radiometer data collected in Xi’an (2015–2020) where heavy pollution weather is common, the relative errors and correction factors of the AOD were obtained under different conditions, including various short wavelengths (≤400 nm), solar zenith angles (SZAs) and AODs. Our analysis indicates the close dependence of AOD correction factors on wavelength, SZA, AOD and the optical properties of aerosol particles. The mean relative error in Xi’an increases with the decrease of wavelength (~16.1% at 315 nm) and decreases first and then increases with the increase of the SZA. The relative errors caused by forward scattering can exceed 10% when the AOD is greater than 1 and 25% when the AOD is larger than 2 in the ultraviolet (UV) band. The errors with a wavelength greater than 400 nm and an AOD below 1.0 can be within 5%, which can be ignored. The correlation coefficients of AODs before and after a correction from 315 nm to 400 nm are greater than 0.96, which basically increase with the increase of the wavelength. This indicates that the significance of the forward scattering effect in the Xi’an area with heavy pollution cannot be ignored for short wavelengths. However, such effect is negligible at the longer wavelengths and lower AODs (<1.0) of a sky-radiometer. Full article
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10 pages, 3116 KiB  
Communication
Novel Method for Determining the Height of the Stable Boundary Layer under Low-Level Jet by Judging the Shape of the Wind Velocity Variance Profile
by Jinhong Xian, Ning Zhang, Chao Lu, Honglong Yang and Zongxu Qiu
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(14), 3638; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15143638 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 682
Abstract
The height of the stable boundary layer is a key parameter in atmospheric transmission and diffusion, air quality, emergency response, wind energy, and numerical weather prediction models. Existing methods mainly determine the stable boundary layer height via a threshold or minimum value of [...] Read more.
The height of the stable boundary layer is a key parameter in atmospheric transmission and diffusion, air quality, emergency response, wind energy, and numerical weather prediction models. Existing methods mainly determine the stable boundary layer height via a threshold or minimum value of the wind speed variance under a low-level jet. Based on multi-meteorological element data from a meteorological gradient observation tower, this paper revealed the limitations of existing methods from the perspective of dynamic and thermal effects. In this paper, it is demonstrated that there were four types of shapes of the wind speed variance profile under the low-level jet and a method for using the shape of the variance profile to retrieve the height of the stable boundary layer was proposed. This method distinguished different types of wind speed variance profiles and solved the problems of the misjudgment and omissions (about 34%) present in existing methods. Our experiment showed that the average absolute error of the proposed method was less than 18 m and the average relative error was less than 9%. The results showed that the proposed inversion method was extended to all kinds of wind field detection equipment for inversion of the stable boundary layer height and has very high universality. Full article
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19 pages, 5600 KiB  
Article
Derived Profiles of CCN and INP Number Concentrations in the Taklimakan Desert via Combined Polarization Lidar, Sun-Photometer, and Radiosonde Observations
by Shuang Zhang, Zhongwei Huang, Khan Alam, Meishi Li, Qingqing Dong, Yongkai Wang, Xingtai Shen, Jianrong Bi, Jiantao Zhang, Wuren Li, Ze Li, Wenbiao Wang, Zhengnan Cui and Xiaodong Song
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(5), 1216; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15051216 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1353
Abstract
Understanding the vertical structures of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice-nucleating particle (INP) number concentrations in desert source regions is crucial for examining dust-cloud interactions and other related impacts. To explore the vertical profiles of the CCN and INP number concentrations and their [...] Read more.
Understanding the vertical structures of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice-nucleating particle (INP) number concentrations in desert source regions is crucial for examining dust-cloud interactions and other related impacts. To explore the vertical profiles of the CCN and INP number concentrations and their possible atmospheric–dynamic influence factors at the center of the Taklimakan Desert, intensive observations were conducted by employing a ground-based polarization Raman lidar, sounding balloons, and a sun photometer in Tazhong (83.39° E, 38.58° N, 1103 m above sea level) during the summer of 2019. Based on the GRASP algorithm, the extinction-to-volume conversion factor of dust aerosols was 0.85 × 10−12 Mmm3 m−3, and the extinction-to-number conversion factor was predicted to be 0.20 Mm cm−3 on the basis of the sun photometer observations. Thus, the vertical CCN and INP number concentration profiles obtained with different parameterization schemes in the presence of various pollution levels were calculated by combining dust extinction coefficients retrieved by lidar and meteorological data observed by sounding balloon observations. The achieved results indicated that the CCN number concentration varied from 10−2 to 102 cm−3 and decreased from ground level to 12 km with an average value of 36.57 cm−3 at the 10–12 km height range, while the INP number concentration based on parameterization schemes D10 and D15 mainly varied from 10−1 to 102 L−1 and from 1 L−1 to 103 L−1, with average values of 3.50 L−1 and 7.80 L−1, respectively. Moreover, we observed a strong relationship between the INP number concentration of scheme D10 and the wind speed, with an R2 value of 0.72, but a weak relationship between the CCN number concentration and the relative humidity in the boundary layer, with a Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient R2 value of 0.38. The present study provides original and valuable information regarding the CCN and INP number concentrations and their related influencing factors at the center of the Taklimakan Desert and can improve our understanding of the vertical distributions of dust–cloud–atmosphere dynamic interactions, as well as of the roles of dust aerosols in the desert hydrological cycle. Full article
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15 pages, 2778 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Variation of Dust Aerosol Vertical Distribution in Arctic Based on Polarized Micropulse Lidar Measurement
by Hailing Xie, Zhien Wang, Tao Luo, Kang Yang, Damao Zhang, Tian Zhou, Xueling Yang, Xiaohong Liu and Qiang Fu
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(21), 5581; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14215581 - 04 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1773
Abstract
This study investigates the seasonal variation of dust aerosol vertical distribution using polarized Micropulse lidar (MPL) measurements at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) North Slope of Alaska (NSA) observatory from January 2013 to September 2017. For the first time, multi-year aerosol backscatter coefficients [...] Read more.
This study investigates the seasonal variation of dust aerosol vertical distribution using polarized Micropulse lidar (MPL) measurements at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) North Slope of Alaska (NSA) observatory from January 2013 to September 2017. For the first time, multi-year aerosol backscatter coefficients are retrieved at the ARM NSA site from MPL measurements and are consistent with co-located high spectral resolution lidar (HSRL) measurements. The high-quality aerosol backscatter coefficient retrievals are used to derive the particle depolarization ratio (PDR) at the wavelength of 532 nm, which is used to identify the presence of dust aerosols. The annual cycles of the vertical distributions of dust backscatter coefficient and PDR and dust aerosol optical depth (DAOD) show that aerosol loading has a maximum in late winter and early spring but a minimum in late summer and early autumn. Vertically, dust aerosol occurs in the entire troposphere in spring and winter and in the low and middle troposphere in summer and autumn. Because dust aerosols are effective ice nuclei, the seasonality of dust aerosol vertical distribution has important implications for the Arctic climate through aerosol–cloud–radiation interactions, primarily through impacting mixed-phase cloud processes. Full article
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Other

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15 pages, 5334 KiB  
Technical Note
The Design and Performance Evaluation of a 1550 nm All-Fiber Dual-Polarization Coherent Doppler Lidar for Atmospheric Aerosol Measurements
by Ronghua Yu, Qichao Wang, Guangyao Dai, Xiangcheng Chen, Chao Ren, Jintao Liu, Dongrui Li, Xitao Wang, Haishuai Cao, Shengguang Qin and Songhua Wu
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(22), 5336; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15225336 - 13 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 858
Abstract
A 1550 nm all-fiber dual-polarization coherent Doppler lidar (DPCDL) was constructed to measure the depolarization ratio of atmospheric aerosols. In lidar systems, the polarization state of the laser source is typically required to be that of linearly parallel polarization. However, due to the [...] Read more.
A 1550 nm all-fiber dual-polarization coherent Doppler lidar (DPCDL) was constructed to measure the depolarization ratio of atmospheric aerosols. In lidar systems, the polarization state of the laser source is typically required to be that of linearly parallel polarization. However, due to the influence of the fiber-optical transmission and the large-mode field output of the telescope, the laser polarization state changes. Hence, a polarizer was mounted to the emitting channel of the telescope to eliminate the depolarization effect. A fiber-optical polarization beam splitter divided the backscattered light into components with parallel and perpendicular polarization. The DPCDL used two coherent channels to receive each of these two polarization components. A calibration procedure was designed for the depolarization ratio to determine the differences in gain and non-responsiveness in the two polarization channels. The calibration factor was found to be 1.13. Additionally, the systematic error and the measured random error of the DPCDL were estimated to evaluate the performance of the system. The DPCDL’s systematic error was found to be about 0.0024, and the standard deviation was lower than 0.0048. The Allan deviations of a 1-min averaging window with a low SNR of 19 dB and a high SNR of 27 dB were 0.0104 and 0.0031, respectively. The random errors at different measured heights were mainly distributed below 0.015. To confirm the authenticity of the atmospheric depolarization ratio measured with the DPCDL, two field observations were conducted with the use of a co-located DPCDL and micro-pulse polarization lidar to perform a comparison. The results showed that the correlation coefficients of the aerosol depolarization ratios were 0.73 and 0.77, respectively. Moreover, the two continuous observations demonstrated the robustness and stability of the DPCDL. The depolarization ratios were detected in different weather conditions. Full article
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