MPLNETThe NASA Micro-Pulse Lidar NetworkNational Aeronautics and
Space Administration
Goddard Space
Flight Center

MPLNET Product Information:



This page provides information on our MPLNET V3 product suite and file formats and content. For more information about our MPLNET Versions (V3 vs V2), please visit our Version Information page.

MPLNET Version 3 Product Suite

The following table provides a listing of our V3 products. Click on a product type to view more detailed information about each one. The table also contains a link to view file formats (ncdump file structures).


V3 ProductDescriptions
NRBLidar signals; volume depolarization ratios; diagnostics
CLDCloud heights; thin cloud extinction and optical depths; cloud phase
AERAerosol heights; extinction, backscatter, and aerosol depolarization ratio profiles; lidar ratio
PBLSurface-Attached Mixed Layer Top and estimated mixed layer AOD
Product File Formats
FormatsMPLNET V3 products are NETCDF 4, CF compliant files. Subsets for each product may be selected to reduce file sizes.
Product File Names
File NamesMPLNET product files follow standard conventions as described in the link


MPLNET products follow the modified EOS convention originated by AERONET: Level 1, Level 1.5, and Level 2. Contrary to standard EOS conventions, our Level 1 data contain both calibrated-measured and retrieved variables. This change was necessary to map our retrieved products correctly to those from AERONET (where radiance products are available at Level 1). Our product levels are abbreviated as L1, L15, and L2. The table below describes our product levels in detail, specifying the difference between each. L1 and L15 are all available in near real time (NRT). Level 1 data should never be used for publication (see our data policy).



MPLNET Levels are differentiated by the application of quality assurance (QA) screens. Product specific QA Flag variables are present in all products and are used to determine the QA criteria to pass each level QA screen. Level 1 products have no QA screen applied, and all data are provided. QA screens are applied for all products at Level 1.5 and 2. The L1 NRB product is the primary input for all L15 and L2 processing. L15 and L2 NRB products are generated by inspecting the L1 NRB QA Flags, applying the Level specific QA criteria, and replacing any data that fail the screen with NaN. L15 and L2 CLD products utilize the L15 NRB data (already screened) as input, and generate a CLD product similar to L1 CLD but with differences from the initial screening of the NRB product. The same QA Flag inspection process is used to generate L15 or L2 CLD products. L15 and L2 AER and PBL products follow a similar procedure. Already screened L15 NRB and L15 CLD products serve as input to the AER and PBL processing, and thus the resulting products are not the same as their L1 counterparts. The nature of successive QA screening for L15 and L2 products means that simply screening a L1 product based on its own QA criteria will not yield identical results in a L15 or L2 product. The only exception is the NRB product.

The QA Flags and screening criteria are provided on each products description page. All products have three potential QA confidence levels: high, moderate, and low. Data that fail a given product QA screen entirely are replaced with NaN. The differences between high, moderate, and low QA confidence are also specified on each products description page. Some products only have high QA confidence or fail. QA Confidence variables are present in all product files, specifying the QA status and confidence level for all relevant variables in the product. The possible values of the QA confidence variable are in the table below.



The table below provides a map of our older V2 products to those available in V3.


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Flight Center
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