Automatic Lidar and Ceilometer

Command line interface

alcf-auto – Peform automatic processing of model or lidar data.


alcf auto model <model_type> <lidar_type> point: { <lon> <lat> } time: { <start> <end> } [<options>] [<model_options>] [<lidar_options>] [--] <input> <output>

alcf auto model <model_type> <lidar_type> track: <track> [<options>] [<model_options>] [<lidar_options>] [--] <input> <output>

alcf auto lidar <lidar_type> [<options>] [<lidar_options>] [--] <input> <output>


alcf auto model is equivalent to the sequence of commands:

alcf model
alcf simulate
alcf lidar
alcf stats
alcf plot backscatter
alcf plot backscatter_hist
alcf plot cloud_occurrence

alcf auto lidar is equivalent to the sequence of commands:

alcf lidar
alcf stats
alcf plot backscatter
alcf plot backscatter_hist
alcf plot cloud_occurrence

Arguments following -- are treated as literal strings. Use this delimiter if the input or output file names might otherwise be interpreted as non-strings, e.g. purely numerical file names.


  • end: End time (see Time format below).
  • input: Input directory containing model or lidar data, or, in case of alcf auto compare, the output of alcf auto model or alcf auto lidar.
  • lat: Point latitutde.
  • lidar_options: See alcf lidar options.
  • lidar_type: Lidar type (see Lidar types below).
  • lon: Point longitude.
  • model_options: See alcf model options.
  • model_type: Model type (see Model types below).
  • options: See Options below.
  • plot_options: See alcf plot options.
  • start: Start time (see Time format below).
  • track: Track NetCDF file (see Track below).


  • skip: <step>: Skip all processing steps before <step>. <step> is one of: model, simulate, lidar, stats, plot. Default: none.

Model types

  • amps: Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS).
  • era5: ERA5.
  • jra55: JRA-55.
  • merra2: Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2).
  • nzcsm: New Zealand Convection Scale Model (NZCSM).
  • nzesm: New Zealand Earth System Model (NZESM) (experimental).
  • um: UK Met Office Unified Model (UM).

Lidar types

  • blview: Vaisala BL-VIEW L2 product.
  • caliop: CALIPSO/CALIOP (alcf auto model only).
  • chm15k: Lufft CHM 15k.
  • cl31: Vaisala CL31.
  • cl51: Vaisala CL51.
  • cl61: Vaisala CL61.
  • cosp: COSP simulated lidar.
  • minimpl: Sigma Space MiniMPL.
  • mpl: Sigma Space MPL (converted via SigmaMPL).
  • mpl2nc: Sigma Space MPL (converted via mpl2nc).

Time format

YYYY-MM-DD[THH:MM[:SS]], where YYYY is year, MM is month, DD is day, HH is hour, MM is minute, SS is second. Example: 2000-01-01T00:00:00.


Simulate a Vaisala CL51 instrument from MERRA-2 data in M2I3NVASM.5.12.4 at 45 S, 170 E between 1 and 2 January 2020 and store the output in alcf_merra2.

alcf auto model merra2 cl51 point: { -45.0 170.0 } time: { 2020-01-01 2020-01-02 } M2I3NVASM.5.12.4 alcf_merra2

Process Lufft CHM 15k data in chm15k and store the output in alcf_chm15k.

alcf auto lidar chm15k chm15k_data alcf_chm15k