Comparison of Satellite and All-Sky Camera Estimates of Cloud Cover during GATE

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 80523
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Abstract

Horizontal cloud coverages derived from a geostationary satellite and all-sky cameras were compared for a 3-month period of the GARP Atlantic Tropical Experiment (GATE). Estimates of total cloud cover using the satellite and all-sky camera were similar for the daytime period. The all-sky cameras also gave reasonable estimates of the 24 h cloud cover due to the small difference in the satellite determined daytime and nighttime total cloud cover in the vicinity of the all-sky cameras. However, other regions in the area of study which were not covered by an all-sky camera revealed large diurnal variations. In these areas the daytime total cloud amount did not yield an accurate representation of the 24 h cloud cover.

A method is presented which enables one to construct a three-dimensional representation of cloud structure by combining surface and satellite observations. The disadvantages of this technique are that it assumes no overlapping cloud tops or cloud bases, as well as the limitations of the satellite and all-sky camera in estimating cloud cover.

Abstract

Horizontal cloud coverages derived from a geostationary satellite and all-sky cameras were compared for a 3-month period of the GARP Atlantic Tropical Experiment (GATE). Estimates of total cloud cover using the satellite and all-sky camera were similar for the daytime period. The all-sky cameras also gave reasonable estimates of the 24 h cloud cover due to the small difference in the satellite determined daytime and nighttime total cloud cover in the vicinity of the all-sky cameras. However, other regions in the area of study which were not covered by an all-sky camera revealed large diurnal variations. In these areas the daytime total cloud amount did not yield an accurate representation of the 24 h cloud cover.

A method is presented which enables one to construct a three-dimensional representation of cloud structure by combining surface and satellite observations. The disadvantages of this technique are that it assumes no overlapping cloud tops or cloud bases, as well as the limitations of the satellite and all-sky camera in estimating cloud cover.

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