Lidar Ceilometer CL61

with depolarization measurement

Model: CL61
Manufacturer: Vaisala – Finland

  • Depolarization measurement to support liquid/solid differentiation, as well as detection of potential dust andvolcanic ash
  • Attenuated backscatter profiling for the full range of up to 15.4 km (9.6 mi)
  • Improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for enhanced atmospheric structure reporting
  • Unique single-lens optics with excellent performance also at low altitudes
  • Patented technology to minimize the effect of water vapor absorption
  • Measurement data available in netCDF format
  • Traceable factory calibration

Vaisala Lidar Ceilometer CL61 is a high-performance light detection and ranging (LiDAR) instrument with depolarization measurement capable of unattended operation 24/7 in all conditions. The depolarization measurement enables di€erentiation between solid, liquid, or mixed-phase clouds and precipitation, providing ready-to-use information for atmospheric characterization.

Improved decision-making with more detailed view of atmospheric conditions

CL61 uses attenuated backscatter profiles measured in 2 polarization directions to calculate the depolarization ratio. The depolarization measurement not only enables the liquid/solid differentiation, but also makes it possible to detect dust and volcanic ash. To further enhance atmospheric structure reporting, CL61 has an improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The improved high-resolution attenuated backscatter profiling is available for the full range, up to 15.4 km (9.6 mi). With these enhanced features and BL‑View software, you also get a detailed view of atmospheric conditions within the planetary boundary layer, for example, for air quality forecasting.

Lidar technology

Vaisala has – already since the 1980s – a strong experience in lidar technology, which CL61 uses. There is an installed base of thousands of Vaisala ceilometers worldwide.

Vaisala’s unique single-lens technology provides reliable measurements in low altitudes.

The new patented transmitter technology in CL61 minimizes the effect of water vapor absorption.

Single-receiver depolarization measurement does not require field calibration.

Portable and versatile data

Measurement data is available in the universal and accessible netCDF format, making data sharing easy with colleagues and other users. The system is able to internally buffer data to smooth out brief communication inconsistencies. Data is labeled with time, based on a clock synced using Network Time Protocol.

Easy installation and maintenance

CL61 is a compact and eye-safe lidar ceilometer with modern communication and network capabilities. The modular structure enables safe and easy installation by 1 person.

The product has low maintenance requirements, with extensive selfdiagnostics and embedded fault analysis minimizing downtime. Remote Ethernet access reduces the need for site visits and interruption of measurement data flow. These benefits contribute to overall low cost of ownership. Integrated security software keeps your instrument and data safe.

Measurement performance


Measurement range, cloud and backscatter 0 … 15 400 m (0 … 50 500 ft)
Reporting resolution 4.8 m (15.7 ft)
Measurement interval 5 s
Measurement accuracy against hard target ±5 m (16.4 ft)
Laser InGaAs diode
Laser wavelength 910.55 nm


Data reporting


Atmospheric parameters Cloud base heights (up to 5 layers) 

Cloud depth and penetration

Precipitation/fog detection Sky condition 

Atmospheric profiles Attenuated backscatter profile Parallel and cross-polarized profiles 

Depolarization ratio profile

Status information Internal monitoring data 


Inputs and outputs


Nominal voltage 120/230 V AC 

3.1/1.6 A

Operating voltage 90 – 130 / 200 – 250 V AC
Overvoltage category CAT II
Operating frequency 50 … 60 Hz
Data interface Ethernet (> 10 Mbit/s)
Maintenance interface Ethernet
Message format NetCDF
Power consumption
With heating Max. 370 W
Without heating Max. 100 W


Mechanical specifications


Dimensions (H × W × L) 1400 × 420 × 512 mm 

(55.12 × 16.54 × 20.16 in)

Weight, total 55 kg (121 lb)
Weight, radiation shield 23 kg (51 lb)
Weight, interface unit  12 kg (26 lb)
Weight, measurement unit 20 kg (44 lb)
Material  Aluminum
Color White (RAL9003)
Coating Multi-layer coating to prevent environmental corrosion 
Tilt angle Default: 3°


Operating environment


Operating environment Outdoor use
Operating temperature −50 … +55 °C (−58 … +131 °F)
Storage temperature −50 … +60 °C (−58 … +140 °F)
Operating humidity 0 … 100 %RH 
Maximum operating wind speed 60 m/s (134 mph)
IP rating (when inside radiation shield, excluding window blower) IP66
NEMA rating (when inside radiation shield) NEMA 4X




EU directives and regulations EMC Directive (2014/30/EU) 

Low Voltage Directive (2014/35/EU) 

RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU) amended by 2015/863 

EMC immunity EN 61326‑1, industrial environment
Electrical safety IEC/EN/UL/CSA 61010‑1 
Eye safety 1) Class 1M IEC/EN 60825‑1:2014
Compliance marks CE, China RoHS, RCM, UKCA
Complies with ICAO frangibility requirements.

1) Complies with 21 CFR 1040.10 and 1040.11 excep

Lidar Ceilometer CL61


Top 5 reasons why depolarization is important


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