mpl: Micropulse Lidar

The micropulse lidar (MPL) is a ground-based, optical, remote-sensing system designed primarily to determine the altitude of clouds; however, it is also used for detection of atmospheric aerosols. The physical principle is the same as for radar. Pulses of energy are transmitted into the atmosphere; the energy scattered back to the transceiver is collected and measured as a time-resolved signal, thereby detecting clouds and aerosols in real time.

From the time delay between each outgoing pulse and the backscattered signal, the distance to the scatterer is inferred. Post-processing of the lidar return characterizes the extent and properties of aerosols or other particles in a region.


  • Fixed
  • AMF1
  • AMF2
  • AMF3

Related Publications


Scott R, J Nicolas, D Bromwich, J Norris, and D Lubin. 2019. "Meteorological Drivers and Large-Scale Climate Forcing of West Antarctic Surface Melt." Journal of Climate, 32(3), 10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0233.1.

Terai C, Y Zhang, S Klein, M Zelinka, J Chiu, and Q Min. 2019. "Mechanisms behind the extratropical stratiform low‐cloud optical depth response to temperature in ARM site observations." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124(4), doi:10.1029/2018JD029359.
Research Highlight

Silber I, J Verlinde, M Cadeddu, C Flynn, A Vogelmann, and E Eloranta. 2019. "Antarctic Cloud Macrophysical, Thermodynamic Phase, and Atmospheric Inversion Coupling Properties at McMurdo Station—Part II: Radiative Impact During Different Synoptic Regimes." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124(3), doi:10.1029/2018JD029471.

Schiro K and J Neelin. 2019. "Deep Convective Organization, Moisture Vertical Structure and Convective Transition using Deep-Inflow Mixing." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 76(4), 10.1175/JAS-D-18-0122.1.


Naud C, J Booth, and F Lamraoui. 2018. "Post Cold Frontal Clouds at the ARM Eastern North Atlantic Site: An Examination of the Relationship Between Large-Scale Environment and Low-Level Cloud Properties." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123(21), 10.1029/2018JD029015.
Research Highlight

Chen X, X Huang, X Dong, B Xi, E Dolinar, N Loeb, S Kato, P Stackhouse, and M Bosilovich. 2018. "Using AIRS and ARM SGP Clear-Sky Observations to Evaluate Meteorological Reanalyses: A Hyperspectral Radiance Closure Approach." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123(20), 10.1029/2018JD028850.

Lamer K, A Fridlind, A Ackerman, P Kollias, E Clothiaux, and M Kelley. 2018. "(GO)2-SIM: a GCM-oriented ground-observation forward-simulator framework for objective evaluation of cloud and precipitation phase." Geoscientific Model Development, 11(10), 10.5194/gmd-11-4195-2018.
Research Highlight

Stith J, D Baumgardner, J Haggerty, R Hardesty, W Lee, D Lenschow, P Pilewskie, P Smith, M Steiner, and H Vömel. 2018. "100 Years of Progress in Atmospheric Observing Systems." Meteorological Monographs, 59, 10.1175/AMSMONOGRAPHS-D-18-0006.1.

Qiu S, B Xi, and X Dong. 2018. "Influence of Wind Direction on Thermodynamic Properties and Arctic Mixed-Phase Clouds in Autumn at Utqiaġvik, Alaska." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123(17), 10.1029/2018JD028631.

Wilson A, R Scott, M Cadeddu, V Ghate, and D Lubin. 2018. "Cloud Optical Properties Over West Antarctica From Shortwave Spectroradiometer Measurements During AWARE." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123(17), 10.1029/2018JD028347.

View All Related Publications