Doppler lidar provides atmospheric wind velocity measurements at locations in the atmosphere that
are remote from the lidar platform. Critical factors in lidar wind velocity measurement performance
are (a) the received signal photons that are backscattered from atmospheric aerosols in the
measurement region of interest, (b) the background photons that are scattered from aerosols within
the lidar field of view and do not contribute to the signal but do introduce photon noise in the coherent
detection receiver, and (c) the focussing of the lidar transmitter and coherent detection receiver to
provide range resolution and to optimize velocity measurement performance when using a CW laser.
Tbis paper models the interaction of these factors for a ground based lidar in a monostatic geometry
for potential application to atmospheric research, atmospheric microburst detection for aircraft
warning, and other areas. By analogy to established methods for characterizing the performance
capability of other sensor systems, the lidar performance is characterized by the carrier-to-noise ratio
(CNR) and by a noise equivalent scattering coefficient (NESC).