Dataset Open Access

Polar mesospheric clouds from the Balloon Lidar Experiment (BOLIDE) during the PMC Turbo balloon mission

Kaifler, Natalie

This dataset contains BOLIDE lidar data obtained during the PMC Turbo balloon mission that was launched on 7 July 2018 from Esrange, Sweden and landed in Nunavut, Canada on 14 July 2018. The mission was designed to study small-scale atmospheric dynamics induced by breaking atmospheric gravity waves within the polar mesospheric cloud layer at ~82 km altitude. PMC Turbo floated at around 40 km altitude and carried seven digital cameras to image the polar mesospheric cloud layer and the first Rayleigh lidar to successfully operate from a balloon.

The lidar data consists of volume backscatter coefficients of polar mesospheric clouds, available at 20 m vertical and 10 s temporal resolution, contained in a compressed netcdf file. The magnitude of volume backscatter coefficients scales with
the brightness of clouds imaged by the PMC Turbo cameras. The netcdf file further includes floating altitude, rotator angle (azimuth) as well as latitude and longitude of the lidar beam at 82 km altitude.

Users are encouraged to contact us for discussion when using BOLIDE data.

Data contact:


PMC Turbo camera videos:

NASA Space Physics Data Facility:, select PMC Turbo

DLR Institute mission database:

Kaifler, N., Kaifler, B., Rapp, M., Fritts, D.C. The polar mesospheric cloud dataset of the Balloon Lidar Experiment BOLIDE. Earth System Science Data. In preparation.

Kaifler, B., Rempel, D., Roßi, P., Büdenbender, C., Kaifler, N., and Baturkin, V.: A technical
description of the Balloon Lidar Experiment (BOLIDE), Atmos. Meas. Tech., 13, 5681–5695,, 2020.

Fritts, D. C., Miller, A. D., Kjellstrand, C. B., Geach, C., Williams, B. P., Kaifler, B.,
et al. (2019). PMC Turbo: Studying gravity wave and instability dynamics in the summer mesosphere
using polar mesospheric cloud imaging and profiling from a stratospheric balloon. Journal of
Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124, 6423– 6443.

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