Cirrus clouds have been probed at two locations in the midlatitudes of the southern (SH) and northern hemisphere (NH) with a Mobile Raman Aerosol Lidar (MARL) as part of the European INCA field experiments in 2000. MARL offers the opportunity to observe visible and subvisible clouds and to determine the optical depth t in a range from below 10e-3 up to 3. Despite different synoptic conditions we find at both locations similar macrophysical cloud properties, like mean base and top temperature among others. The frequencies of the optical depth show a characteristic distribution with a high share of subvisible clouds at both locations. While thin haze layers are frequently detected in the NH alone, we find highly depolarizing cirrus clouds only in the SH. These differences indicate that different cirrus properties and formation mechanisms are present at the two sites.