Instrument : Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR)

Instrument Categories
Aerosols, Radiometric

Picture of the Multi-Filter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR)

General Overview

The visible Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR) is a passive instrument that measures global and diffuse components of solar irradiance at six narrowband channels and one open, or broadband, channel. Direct irradiance is not a primary measurement, but is calculated using diffuse and global measurements. To collect one data record, the MFRSR takes measurements at four different shadowband positions. The first measurement is taken with the shadowband in the nadir (home) position. The next three measurements are, in order, the first side-band, sun-blocked, and second side-band. The side-band measurements are used to correct for the portion of the sky obscured by the shadowband. The nominal wavelengths of the narrowband channels are 415, 500, 615, 673, 870, and 940 nm. From such measurements, one may infer the atmosphere’s aerosol optical depth at each wavelength. In turn, these optical depths may be used to derive information about the column abundances of ozone and water vapor, as well as aerosol and other atmospheric constituents.

The MFRSR was among the original instruments deployed at the first U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility sites. Over time, the MFRSR network degraded to the point at which a significant number of stations that were intended to have an instrument did not. Lack of spare instruments and replacement parts were the primary reasons for the slow degradation. Around 2005, it was decided to bring the network back to full capacity. After much consideration, it was decided the best way to accomplish this was to refurbish all the heads in-house and to transition to a different data-logging system. By early 2007, the first refurbished units were deployed, and by the end of 2008, every Southern Great Plains (SGP) site that was intended to have an MFRSR had a functioning unit. The new loggers provided expanded measurement capabilities over the previously used loggers. They provide researchers with the ability to tailor instrument operation for specific measurement needs. The hardware updates and changes necessitated significant changes to the data collection and ingest software. The data files available include a host of information. MFRSR Value-Added Products have been updated. For example, ARM is now producing a high-quality, Langley-calibrated data product.

Output Value-Added Products

This instrument is an input to the following value-added products, which provide improved measurements or derived quantities.

  • mfrsraod1mich : MFRSR: derived total & aerosol optical depth from 1st Michalsky algorithm
  • mfrsrcldod1min : Derived: Cloud Optical Properties from MFRSR, MWR, Langley Analysis
  • nimfraod1mich : NIMFR: derived total & aerosol optical depth from 1st Michalsky algorithm
  • qcrad1long : Surface Radiation Measurement Quality Control testing, including climatologically configurable limits
  • qcradbeflux1long : Surface Radiation Measurement (BEFLUX input) QC testing, incl. climatologically configurable limits
  • qcradbrs1long : Surface Radiation Measurement (BRS input) QC testing, incl. climatologically configurable limits
  • sasheniraod : Shortwave Array Spectroradiometer-Hemispheric, NIR Aerosol Optical Depths
  • sashevisaod : Shortwave Array Spectroradiometer-Hemispheric, VIS Aerosol Optical Depths

Output Datastreams

  • mfrsr : Multi-Filter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR): irradiances
  • mfrsraux : Auxiliary data for the ARM Multi-Filter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR)

Primary Measurements

The following measurements are those considered scientifically relevant.


Eastern North Atlantic
ENAC1 Browse DataGraciosa Island, Azores, Portugal
North Slope Alaska
NSAC1 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Barrow AK
NSAC2 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Atqasuk AK
Southern Great Plains
SGPC1 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Lamont, OK
SGPE1 Browse DataLarned, KS (Extended) retired
SGPE2 Browse DataHillsboro, KS (Extended)
SGPE3 Browse DataLeRoy, KS (Extended)
SGPE4 Browse Data Browse PlotsPlevna, KS (Extended)
SGPE5 Browse Data Browse PlotsHalstead, KS (Extended)
SGPE6 Browse DataTowanda, KS (Extended)
SGPE7 Browse DataElk Falls, KS (Extended)
SGPE8 Browse DataColdwater, KS (Extended) retired
SGPE9 Browse Data Browse PlotsAshton, KS (Extended)
SGPE10 Browse Data Browse PlotsTyro, KS (Extended) retired
SGPE11 Browse Data Browse PlotsByron, OK (Extended)
SGPE12 Browse Data Browse PlotsPawhuska, OK (Extended)
SGPE13 Browse Data Browse PlotsLamont, OK (Extended)
SGPE15 Browse DataRingwood, OK (Extended)
SGPE16 Browse Data Browse PlotsVici, OK (Extended) retired
SGPE18 Browse DataMorris, OK (Extended)
SGPE19 Browse Data Browse PlotsEl Reno, OK (Extended)
SGPE20 Browse DataMeeker, OK (Extended)
SGPE22 Browse Data Browse PlotsCordell, OK (Extended)
SGPE24 Browse DataCyril, OK (Extended) retired
SGPE25 Browse Data Browse PlotsSeminole, OK (Extended) retired
SGPE27 Browse Data Browse PlotsEarlsboro, OK (Extended) retired
SGPE31 Browse Data Browse PlotsAnthony, KS (Extended)
SGPE32 Browse Data Browse PlotsMedford, OK (Extended)
SGPE33 Browse DataNewkirk, OK (Extended)
SGPE34 Browse DataMaple City, KS (Extended)
SGPE35 Browse DataTryon, OK (Extended)
SGPE36 Browse Data Browse PlotsMarshall, OK (Extended)
SGPE37 Browse Data Browse PlotsWaukomis, OK (Extended)
SGPE38 Browse DataOmega, OK (Extended)
SGPE39 Browse DataMorrison, OK (Extended)
SGPE40 Browse DataPawnee, OK (Extended)
SGPE41 Browse DataPeckham, OK (Extended)
Tropical Western Pacific
TWPC1 Browse DataCentral Facility, Manus I., PNG retired
TWPC2 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Nauru Island
TWPC3 Browse DataCentral Facility, Darwin, Australia
ARM Mobile Facility
ASIM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsAscension Island, South Atlantic Ocean; AMF1
AWRM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsMcMurdo Station Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica; AMF2
FKBM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsBlack Forest, Germany retired
GANM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsGan Airport, Gan Island, Maldives; AMF2 retired
GRWM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsGraciosa Island, Azores, Portugal; AMF1 retired
HFEM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsShouxian, Anhui, China retired
MAOM1 Browse DataManacapuru, Amazonas, Brazil; AMF1
NIMM1 Browse DataNiamey, Niger retired
OLIM1 Browse DataOlikiok Point, Alaska; AMF3
PGHM1 Browse DataARIES Observatory, Nainital, Uttarkhand, India; AMF1 retired
PVCM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsHighland Center, Cape Cod MA; AMF1 retired
PYEM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsPoint Reyes, CA retired
SBSM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsSteamboat Springs CO, Valley Site; AMF2 retired
TMPM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsU. of Helsinki Research Station (SMEAR II), Hyytiala, Finland; AMF2
 retired = Originating instrument has been retired at this location


Gary Hodges
(303) 497-6460