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This paper presents an innovative retrieval method that translates the CALIOP land surface laser pulse returns into the surface bidirectional reflectance. To better analyze the surface returns, the CALIOP receiver impulse response and the downlinked samples' distribution at 30&thinsp;m resolution are discussed. The saturated laser pulse magnitudes from snow and ice surfaces are recovered based on surface tail information. The retrieved snow surface bidirectional reflectance is compared withdoi:10.5194/amt-2017-488 fatcat:umd7fmk3znddlm7eear4f4hqbi