Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility US Department of Energy

mplcmask > Cloud mask from Micropulse LidarVAP Type(s) > Baseline

Example plots of normalized relative backscatter (NRB), linear depolarization ratio (LDR), and the cloud mask for ARM’s Southern Great Plains observatory on October 18, 2018.

The MPLCMASK value-added product (VAP) implements a cloud detection algorithm to provide cloud boundaries from the ARM micropulse lidar (MPL) systems. The VAP provides the number of cloud layers as well as each layer’s cloud top and cloud base at 30-meter and 30-second resolution. A cloud mask is compiled at this temporal and spatial resolution and is the primary lidar cloud mask for input to the Active Remote Sensing of Clouds (ARSCL) VAP.

In addition to retrieving cloud boundaries, MPLCMASK applies instrument corrections to the lidar measurements and calculates the linear depolarization ratio (LDR) using the methodology developed by Flynn et al. (2007). The current version of MPLCMASK applies the instrument corrections as described in Campbell et al. (2002) with modifications specific to a polarized fast-switch MPL system.


  • Fixed
  • AMF1
  • AMF2
  • AMF3


mpl: Micropulse Lidar


Goss HB, KS Dorsey, CB Ireland, MR Wasem, RA Stafford, and R Jundt. 2020. 2019 Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Annual Report. Ed. by Kathryn Dorsey, ARM user facility. DOE/SC-ARM-19-032. 10.2172/1604869.


Lamer K, A Fridlind, A Ackerman, P Kollias, E Clothiaux, and M Kelley. 2018. "(GO)2-SIM: a GCM-oriented ground-observation forward-simulator framework for objective evaluation of cloud and precipitation phase." Geoscientific Model Development, 11(10), 10.5194/gmd-11-4195-2018.
Research Highlight

Won H and M Ahn. 2018. "Effects of Dynamic Range and Sampling Rate of an Infrared Thermometer to the Accuracy of the Cloud Detection." Remote Sensing, 10(7), 10.3390/rs10071049.


Shupe MD, DD Turner, A Zwink, MM Thieman, EJ Mlawer, and T Shippert. 2015. "Deriving Arctic Cloud Microphysics at Barrow, Alaska: Algorithms, Results, and Radiative Closure." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 54(7), 10.1175/jamc-d-15-0054.1.
Research Highlight


Sivaraman C. 2012. ARM Climate Research Facility Quarterly Value-Added Product Report Fourth Quarter: July 1–September 30, 2012. U.S. Department of Energy. DOE/SC-ARM-12-022.

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Damao Zhang
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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