[1] Cloud and aerosol layers detected by the space borne Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) are used to derive statistics of clear and almost clear atmospheres, the latter defined to be those with some scattering material but total optical thickness less than 0.2. Such statistics are needed to evaluate the potential coverage of NASA's forthcoming Orbital Carbon Observatory. The global fraction of clear cases is approximately 15%, with large scale spatial structures similar to those found by passive sensors. The spatial distribution of almost clear cases is similar to that for clear, with global fraction approximately 20%. The mean altitude of optically thin scattering layers is generally below one kilometer, indicating that they are composed mostly of boundary layer aerosol rather than high altitude cloud. The spatial correlation function of clear cases is accurately reproduced by the analytical function F(d) = exp[−(d/d0)0.5], where d0 is a correlation scale length. Between 60N and 60S, d0 shows little zonal variation, and its average value is 320 km. Over the Arctic d0 falls to 250 km, but rises to 450 km over the Antarctic.