mfrsr: Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer

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, the atmosphere’s aerosol optical depth at each wavelength can be inferred. 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.


  • Fixed
  • AMF1
  • AMF2
  • AMF3

Related Publications


Michalsky J and K Lantz. 2016. Two-Column Aerosol Project (TCAP): Ground-Based Radiation and Aerosol Validation Using the NOAA Mobile SURFRAD Station Field Campaign Report. Ed. by Robert Stafford, DOE ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-14-043.

Hodges GB and JJ Michalsky. 2016. Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer Instrument Handbook. Ed. by Robert Stafford, DOE ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-TR-144.

Feng Y, R Kotamarthi, R Coulter, C Zhao, and M Cadeddu. 2016. "Radiative and thermodynamic responses to aerosol extinction profiles during the pre-monsoon month over South Asia." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 16(1), 10.5194/acp-16-247-2016.


Kassianov E, J Barnard, C Flynn, L Riihimaki, and C Marinovici. 2015. How Well Can We Estimate Areal-Averaged Spectral Surface Albedo from Ground-Based Transmission in the Atlantic Coastal Area? In 20th Proceedings of the SPIE: Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere, Ed. by A Comeron, et al, Bellingham, WA: SPIE.

Yin B, S Li, R Li, Q Min, and M Duan. 2015. "Interannual variation of cloud optical properties at ACRF Manus and Nauru sites from MFRSR measurements." Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 153, 10.1016/j.jqsrt.2014.11.003.


Kassianov E, J Barnard, C Flynn, L Riihimaki, J Michalsky, and G Hodges. 2014. Retrieval of areal-averaged spectral surface albedo from transmission data alone: computationally simple and fast approach. In 9242th Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XIX; and Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems XVII. Proceedings of the SPIE, Ed. by A Comerón, et al, pp. 924205-1-924205-6. Bellingham, WA: SPIE.

Yano J and TP Lane. 2014. "Convectively generated gravity waves simulated by NAM-SCA." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 119(15), 10.1002/2013JD021419.

Chiu JC, JA Holmes, RJ Hogan, and EJ O'Connor. 2014. "The interdependence of continental warm cloud properties derived from unexploited solar background signals in ground-based lidar measurements." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14, doi:10.5194/acp-14-8389-2014.

Kassianov E, J Barnard, C Flynn, L Riihimaki, J Michalsky, and G Hodges. 2014. "Areal-Averaged Spectral Surface Albedo from Ground-Based Transmission Data Alone: Toward an Operational Retrieval." Atmosphere, 5(3), 10.3390/atmos5030597.

Liu C, M Chen, R Shi, and W Gao. 2014. "Retrievals of aerosol optical depth and total column ozone from Ultraviolet Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer measurements based on an optimal estimation technique." Frontiers of Earth Science, 8(4), 10.1007/s11707-014-0455-6.

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