The lidar (extinction-to-backscatter) ratios at 0.55 and 1.02 μm and the spectral lidar, extinction, and backscatter ratios of climatically relevant aerosol species are computed on the basis of selected retrievals of aerosol properties from 26 Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sites across the globe. The values, obtained indirectly from sky radiance and solar transmittance measurements, agree very well with values from direct observations. Low mean values of the lidar ratio, Sa, at 0.55 μm for maritime (27 sr) aerosols and desert dust (42 sr) are clearly distinguishable from biomass burning (60 sr) and urban/industrial pollution (71 sr). The effects of nonsphericity of mineral dust are shown, demonstrating that particle shape must be taken into account in any spaceborne lidar inversion scheme. A new aerosol model representing pollution over Southeast Asia is introduced since lidar (58 sr), color lidar, and extinction ratios in this region are distinct from those over other urban/industrial centers, owing to a greater number of large particles relative to fine particles. This discrimination promises improved estimates of regional climate forcing by aerosols containing black carbon and is expected to be of utility to climate modeling and remote sensing communities. The observed variability of the lidar parameters, combined with current validated aerosol data products from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), will afford improved accuracy in the inversion of spaceborne lidar data over both land and ocean.