In this paper, characterization of cirrus clouds are made by using data from ground based polarization lidar and radiosonde measurements over Chung-Li (24.58 degrees N, 121.10 degrees E), Taiwan for a period of 1999-2006. During this period, the occurrence of cirrus clouds is about 37% of the total measurement nights over the lidar site. Analysis of the measurement gives the statistical characteristics about the macrophysical properties such as occurrence height, ambient temperature, and its geometrical thickness while the microphysical properties are interpreted in terms of extinction coefficient, optical depth, effective lidar ratio and depolarization ratio. The effective lidar ratio has been retrieved by using the simulation technique of backscattered lidar signals. The effect of multiple scattering has been taken into the account by a model calculation. Summer (Jun-Aug) shows the maximum appearances of cirrus due to its formation mechanism. It is shown that tropopause cirrus clouds may occur with a probability of about 24%. These clouds are usually optically thin and having laminar in structure with some cases resembling the characteristics similar to that of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs). The radiative properties of the cirrus clouds are also discussed in detail by the empirical equations with results show a positive feedback on any climate change. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.