Mesospheric Densities and Temperatures Derived from 11 Years of Data Acquired with the Rayleigh-Scatter Lidar at the Atmospheric Lidar Observatory at Utah State University


Frequent observations were carried out with the Rayleigh-scatter lidar at Utah State University’s Atmospheric Lidar Observatory (41.742572° N, 111.808273° W, and 1466 m) from August 1993 through December 2004. Of 964 nights observed, a total of 839 nights were judged good for deriving temperatures. These 839 were reduced to obtain all-night relative neutral densities and absolute temperatures. These results extend from 45 to ≤ 95 km, thereby covering the mesosphere. This netCDF file starts by giving the number of nights included in the file. For each night, the netCDF file then provides defining parameters and derived profiles, as defined below.

The parameters are

  • start date for the observations (UTC) [mm/dd/yy],
  • start time for the observations (UTC) [hh:mm:ss],
  • end time for the observations (UTC) [hh:mm:ss],
  • number of altitude bins,
  • number of data profiles combined to make the all-night relative density profile and absolute temperature profile,
  • maximum altitude (of the initial temperature) ≤ 95 km [m],
  • minimum temperature altitude ≥ 45 km [m], and
  • initial temperature [K].

The profiles are

  • altitude of each data point above mean sea level [m],
  • relative all-night neutral density [normalized to 1.00 at 45 km],
  • uncertainty of relative neutral density [%],
  • data quality flag for density [good/bad],
  • all-night absolute temperature [K],
  • temperature uncertainty [K], and
  • data quality flag for temperature [good/bad].

The netCDF file includes this documentation and gives the location of each parameter and profile.



Document Type




File Format


Viewing Instructions

.nc is the extension for NetCDF format. These files contain contain metadata which aid interpretation of the data. The metadata and data can be explored using the free Panoply software tool (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/panoply/). The files can also be manipulated using Unidata's free netCDF tools, a set of libraries that provide interfaces in the Java, C, C++, Fortran, and Perl programming languages.

Publication Date



NSF, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences


Utah State University

Award Number

NSF, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences 9203034; NSF, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences 9302118; NSF, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences 9714789; NSF, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences 0123145; NSF, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences 0531397


See Readme file for description of data collection and processing.

Referenced by

Herron and Wickwar (2018), Mid-Latitude Climatologies of Mesospheric Temperature and Geophysical Temperature Variability Determined with the Rayleigh-Scatter Lidar at ALO-USU, submitted to Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, 2018JD028450, Available from https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/physics_facpub/2063/




The netCDF file provides documentation and and gives the location of each parameter and profile.

Rules for using these data are outlined in the Readme file.


Atmospheric Sciences


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Additional Files

ReadMe.txt (7 kB)
MD5: de72d3fc90cda9a965fcd8eb1a68e610

ALO-USU_Rayleigh_lidar_Nightly.nc (45253 kB)
MD5: 156afb26d0035b26f881f5b1a16e0e21