MPLNET The NASA Micro-Pulse Lidar Network National Aeronautics and
Space Administration
Goddard Space
Flight Center

MPLNET Versions




The MPLNET project began in December 1999, with full operations in 2000. MPLNET was developed on the successful AERONET model: a federated network of instrument sites utilizing standardized calibrations, operational protocols, and processing. Most MPLNET sites are co-located with AERONET. Due to the close collaboration between the two networks, MPLNET adopted the Data Product Level and Version nomenclature used by AERONET. Versions are major new releases of data and major changes to our data processing system and/or instrumentation. MPLNET has timed our new Version releases to be coincident with AERONET. Here is the MPLNET Version History:

Version 1: 2000 – 2006. MPL Model 2 & 3

  • Netcdf3 files.
  • Level 1 Lidar signals & diagnostics.
  • Level 1.5 (next day) aerosol extinction & backscatter at coincident AERONET times. Cloud Heights.
  • Level 2 QA aerosol extinction (manual)

Version 2: 2006 – ~2014 for most sites. MPL Model 3 & 4

  • MPL model 4: improved rugged telescope, field serviceable laser diode and detector
  • Network expansion
  • Add 24/7 PBL Height (product quality was too poor, did not distribute)
  • Add Level 1.5 continuous (day/night) aerosol optical depth, extinction & backscatter profiles
  • All data from 2000-2006 reprocessed to V2

Version 3: 2014 - current (still in development). Polarized MPL Model 4. Limited support for the miniMPL.

  • new Polarized MPL and miniMPL data
  • continued network expansion
  • Switch to Netcdf 4 and CF compliance. Product subsets available.
  • Level 1 and 1.5 data available in near real time (< 1.5 hours). Level 2 data available upon request.
  • Level 1.5 data now include QA (same as AERONET V3)
  • Using GEOS-5 for meteorology input. More accurate calibrations and improved product retrievals as a result.
  • New website and online data ordering tool (also supports Version 2 products)
  • All data from 2000 - current will be reprocessed to V3
  • New product suite: All products available for L1, L15, and L2. Only difference is application of Level dependent QA.
    • NRB: Signals & Diagnostics. Now includes volume depolarization ratio
    • CLD: Cloud Heights and Properties. Improved cloud detection and added: thin cloud extinction and optical depth estimates, and cloud phase.
    • AER: Aerosol Heights and Properties. Added aerosol mask and aerosol depolarization ratio. Data still only available at AERONET times.
    • PBL: Surface-Attached Mixed Layer Top and estimated PBL AOD. New algorithm, better performance.
    • More information on our V3 Product Suite is available on our Product Information page.


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