Stratospheric aerosol measurements by dual polarisation lidar
Abstract. We present measurements of stratospheric aerosol made at Aberystwyth, UK (52.4° N, 4.06° W) during periods of background aerosol conditions. The measurements were made with a lidar system based on a 532nm laser and two polarisation channels in the receiver. When stratospheric aerosol amounts are very small, as at present, this method is, potentially, free of a number of systematic errors that bedevil more commonly-used methods. The method rests on the assumption that the aerosol consists of spherical droplets which do not depolarise the lidar signal, which is valid under most conditions. Maximum lidar ratios in background aerosol of 1.03-1.06 were measured during the period 2001-2004, with integrated backscatter in the range 2-7x10-5sr-1. In January 2003, depolarising aerosol was measured, which invalidated the dual-polarisation measurements. On 10-11 January, the depolarising aerosol was clearly a polar stratospheric cloud (the first lidar observations of such clouds in the British Isles) but the aerosol observed on 7-8 January was too low in altitude and too warm to be a PSC.