G2.05     Lack of rigorous aerosol lidar error budget availability

Gap detailed description

Lidar profiling of atmospheric aerosol has become important for climate research during recent decades. Lidar systems cannot be independently calibrated. Therefore, the accuracy of aerosol lidar measurements can only be assured with internal instrumental quality checks, consistency of lidar observations with other instruments (e.g. total column aerosol observatons), and through intercomparisons with lidar systems with a very well known and well documented behaviour – so called reference systems (see G2.04). In order to establish a rigorous aerosol lidar error budget, instrumental influence, as well as influence from ancillary information and calibration issues will have to be taken into account.

Activities within GAIA-CLIM related to this gap

This gap will be addressed within GAIA-CLIM. A traceability chain will be set up and an error budget calculation scheme will be set up.

Gap remedy(s)

A traceability chain will be set up and an error budget calculation scheme will be compiled.

Measurable outcome of success

Established (published in peer reviewed journal) error budget calculation scheme.

Achievable outcomes

Organizational viability: high.

Indicative cost estimate: low.  Lidar experts will review existing materials from open literature and other projects (e.g. ACTRIS/EARLINET and ISSI lidar project), and instigate a methodology for setting up the traceability and establishing the error budget calculations.


The issue is highly relevant for any application that uses ground based aerosol lidar data as a reference.


GAIA-CLIM deliverables from WP2.

Gap risks to non-resolution

Identified future risk / impact

Probability of occurrence if gap not remedied

Downstream impacts on ability to deliver high quality services to science / industry / society

Lack of rigorous aerosol lidar error budget availability.


Reduced level of traceability of ground based aerosol lidar measurements.

Work package: