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. Thus MPLNET versions are not directly related to collections released from most EOS satellite missions (e.g. MODIS). Our Version releases are more expansive. 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 – current. 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: Under development since 2014. MPL Model 4, Polarized MPL (P-MPL)

  • new Polarized MPL (P-MPL)
  • continued network expansion
  • Switch to Netcdf 4 and CF compliance. See our Product Information page for more information on V3 data and formats.
  • New, improved PBL Height and Cloud Products (PBL will be available)
  • Switch to GEOS-5 for meteorology input. Improve layer detection and all aerosol products.
  • Add thin cloud extinction and optical depth estimates. Cloud phase.
  • More automated Level 2 QA products, including continuous aerosol retreivals
  • Add volume, aerosol, and cloud depol ratio products
  • All data now available in near-real-time (1-2 hours), support for operational aerosol forecasting
  • Improved website, and online data ordering tool (supports Version 2 products)
  • Planned release of forward processing Fall 2016 (older data to follow)
  • All data from 2006 to current will be reprocessed to V3. Older data (< 2006) may not be available in V3 (TBD).


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