Instrumental correction of the uneven PMT aging effect on the calibration constant of a water vapor Raman lidar
The water vapor profile derived from Raman lidar measurements is obtained by taking the ratio of water vapor and nitrogen Raman-shifted signals. The proportionality factor that converts the signal ratio to water vapor/air mixing ratio is referred to as lidar calibration constant. The calibration constant depends on the water vapor and nitrogen Raman cross sections and on the efficiencies of the respective Raman channels including the photomultiplier tube (PMT) efficiency. Unequal, gradual changes in the PMTs efficiencies due to fatigue effects may lead to gradual alteration of the calibration constant. Such an effect has been observed during the seven-year continuous operation of the RAman Lidar for Moisture Observations (RALMO)(1). A more detailed research(2), has shown that the calibration constant change is more pronounced during summer time probably due to the higher light exposure. Periodical recalibration of the lidar with radiosonde measurements is used to correct the calibration constant. This approach, however, induces additional systematic errors due to the nature of the calibration procedure and the dispersion of the radiosonde parameters. We present a new, instrumental method for automated correction of the calibration constant. By this method, a correction factor is deduced from the ratio of the signals of the two photomultipliers which are illuminated simultaneously by a single, stabilized UV-LED light source. The LED light is delivered to the photomultipliers by a set of additional mirrors and a beam splitter installed inside the grating polychromator used to separate the Raman signals. The correction measurements are taken before midnight. To minimize the data loss, the lidar's laser is operated during the measurements and a shatter at the polychromator entrance is used to block any atmospheric signals. The use of stabilized light source also allows evaluating the individual photomultipliers aging rates, essential for the instrument maintenance.