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The design and operation of a differential absorption lidar (LIght Detection And Ranging) system capable of remotely measuring the vertical structure of tropospheric pressure and temperature are described. The measurements are based on the absorption by atmospheric oxygen of the spectrally narrowband output of two pulsed alexandrite lasers. Detailed laser output spectral characteristics, which are critical to successful lidar measurements, are presented. Spectral linewidths of 0.026 and 0.018 cm-1 for the lasers were measured with over 99.99% of the energy contained in three longitudinal modes.