The performance of the lidar atmospheric profile sensor (LAPS) instrument for temperature measurements in the lower troposphere has been investigated. LAPS is an automated lidar system that measures temperature from the rotational Raman return of atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen. We present the measurement technique, the data analysis and the performance of the LAPS instrument. Comparisons to radiosonde profiles are discussed.© (1996) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.