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SGP97 GCIP/NESOB-97 Surface: Belfort Laser Ceiliometer (BLC)/MicroPulse Lidar (MPL) Cloud Composite Dataset

posted on 2023-11-30, 08:42 authored by Thomas Jackson

The Southern Great Plains 1997 (SGP97) Hydrology Experiment originated from an interdisciplinary investigation, "Soil Moisture Mapping at Satellite Temporal and Spatial Scales" (PI: Thomas J. Jackson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD) selected under the NASA Research Announcement 95-MTPE-03. The ARM Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) cloud height dataset is one of several datasets provided for the GEWEX Continental-Scale International Project (GCIP) Near-Surface Observing Period (NESOB) 1997 project. This dataset contains cloud height data collected using the ARMCART SGP Belfort Laser Ceilometer (BLC) Model 7013C and the ARMCART SGP MicroPulse Lidar (MPL) located at station E13: Lamont Central Facility 1 (CF1). This dataset contains data from these two instruments located within the NESOB 1997 domain (94.5 W to 100.5 W longitude and 34 N to 39 N latitude) for the NESOB 1997 time period (01 April 1997 through 31 March 1998). The data in this dataset were formed by extracting 30 minute cloud height data from 60 second BLC data in netCDF format. A zero for the first cloud layer signifies no clouds detected within the limit of the instrument field of view and range. A cloud ht of zero for the second and third cloud layers indicates an unknown cloud height (i.e. the ceiliometer can't see through lower clouds). These zeros are reported as "0.00000 U" in the data. The ARMCART Belfort Laser Ceilometer data contains eight metadata parameters and eight data parameters and flags. The metadata parameters describe the date, network, station and location at which the data were collected. Data values are collected at the time of observation. All times are UTC.

Resources in this dataset:


Agricultural Research Service

National Science Foundation


Data contact name

Jackson, Thomas

Data contact email


National Center for Atmospheric Research / Earth Observing Laboratory

Intended use

SGP97 is set in a subhumid environment during early summer. Within this setting, the objectives of SGP97 are (1) to establish that the retrieval algorithms for surface soil moisture developed at higher spatial resolution using truck- and aircraft-based sensors can be extended to the coarser resolutions expected from satellite platforms; (2) to verify spatial-temporal estimators of soil moisture and to examine the utility of pedotransfer function in hydrologic modeling; (3) to examine the feasibility of inferring soil moisture and temperature profiles using surface observations in conjunction with in situ measurements, and (4) to examine the effect of soil moisture on the evolution of the atmospheric boundary layer and clouds over the Southern Great Plains during the warm season.

Use limitations

The 100m offset present in the BLC cloud height data during NESOB96 is not present during NESOB97. This dataset was not quality controlled by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research/Joint Office for Science Support (UCAR/JOSS).

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


ISO Topic Category

  • climatologyMeteorologyAtmosphere
  • environment
  • farming

Ag Data Commons Group

  • Southern Plains
  • Long-Term Agroecosystem Research

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

soil water; satellites; models; lidar; summer; hydrologic models; temperature profiles; Great Plains region; warm season

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Jackson, Thomas (2020). SGP97 GCIP/NESOB-97 Surface: Belfort Laser Ceiliometer (BLC)/MicroPulse Lidar (MPL) Cloud Composite Dataset. National Center for Atmospheric Research / Earth Observing Laboratory.

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