Lidar Radar Open Software Environment


LROSE is a 4-year joint project between the Atmospheric Science Department at Colorado State University (CSU) and the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). It is funded by the US National Science Foundation.

The overall goal of the project is to provide high-quality, open source software to the community of scientists, researchers and operational organizations using atmospheric lidars, radars and profilers.

NSF provided seed funding in 2012 and 2013 to kick-start development while the main proposal was processed. 

In 2014 and 2015, the LROSE proposal was submitted to the NSF Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.

The project was funded in August 2016 by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), via the SI2 initiative. (See The current funding period runs from 2016 through 2020.

Supplemental funding has been provided by the NCAR Director's office.

Development approach

LROSE is based on collaborative, open source software development. The code is freely available on the web under a BSD-style license.

The core framework upon which LROSE is based was developed by the PIs over a number of years prior to the start of the project.

The goal of the project is to build upon this base framework to add functionality that is seen as a high priority by the user community. We want to make the software up-to-date, relevant, easy to use and robust. Testing will be carried out at CSU, EOL and in the universities in general. Documentation and other aids, such as 'starter kits', will be provided to help the users to get started and make progress as efficiently as possible. 

Data to be stored in portable data formats, based on UNIDATA NetCDF, following the Climate and Forecasting (CF) conventions to facilitate data assimilation by models.

LROSE core software components

Since the scope of software for radar and lidar is large, the software is organized into modular libraries and applications. The size of the modules in LROSE is chosen to keep the software maintainable, while also keeping the number of modules reasonable.

LROSE is intended to handle information at all stages:

  • raw time series data at the instrument in native format
  • moments data in radial coordinates
  • algorithms in radial coordinates
  • products in Cartesian coordinates
  • engineering displays
  • science displays that integrate with other data sets for visualization
  • provision of QC data to models for data assimilation

The software in the lrose core contains all of these components, as depicted in the following schematic:

The lrose-core software is hosted on GitHub at

Lrose-core comprises a fairly large software base. Much of this is available to use just as it is.

As part of the LROSE project, NCAR/EOL is upgrading and refactoring some of the core, and adding functionality as required.

Work-flow releases

The core is quite large, and some users only need part of its functionality.

Therefore we are also developing partial releases aimed at specific work-flows.

The initial work-flow version is lrose-blaze.

Blaze can be found at the CSU-maintained web site

The schematic below shows, high-lighted, the aspects of the core that are included in lrose-blaze.

Work-flow plan and release schedule

The LROSE work-flow development will proceed on a calendar year basis.

The major release for each year, starting from 2018, will be named after a chosen variety of rose.

Within the calendar year there will be 4 minor releases, specifically at the end of March, June, September and December.

The plan outline is as follows:

LROSE development plan and schedule
Year Major
release name
Looks like ... Contents for each release
2018 Blaze  
  1. Format conversion
  2. Cartesian transformation
  3. QPE
  4. Doppler winds analysis
2019 Cyclone   To be announced
2020 Elle   To be announced
2021 Jade   To be announced
2022 Topaz   To be announced


LROSE is on GitHub

LROSE makes use of GitHub to host the software releases, documentation and other resources.

The overall site for LROSE, maintained by CSU, is at:

The releases will be hosted at the above site.

The core LROSE software package resides at: