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Comparison of Cloud Properties from Ground-Based Infrared Cloud Measurement and Visual Observations

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  • 1 College of Meteorology and Oceanography, PLA University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
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Abstract

Cloud properties derived from the whole-sky infrared cloud-measuring system (WSIRCMS) are analyzed in relation to measurements of visual observations and a ceilometer during the period July–August 2010 at the Chinese Meteorological Administration Yangjiang Station, Guangdong Province, China. The comparison focuses on the performance and features of the WSIRCMS as a prototype instrument for automatic cloud observations. Cloud cover derived from the WSIRCMS cloud algorithm compares quite well with cloud cover derived from visual observations. Cloud cover differences between WSIRCMS and visual observations are within ±1 octa in 70.83% and within ±2 octa in 82.44% of the cases. For cloud-base height from WSIRCMS data and Vaisala ceilometer CL51, the comparison shows a generally good correspondence in the lower and midtroposphere up to the height of about 6 km, with some systematic difference due to different detection methods. Differences between the resulting cloud-type classifications derived from the WSIRCMS and from visual observations show that cumulus and cirrus are classified with high accuracy, but that stratocumulus and altocumulus are not. Stratocumulus and altocumulus are suggested to be treated as waveform cloud for classification purposes. In addition, it is considered an intractable problem for automatic cloud-measurement instruments to do cloud classification when the cloud amount is less than 2 octa.

Corresponding author address: Lei Liu, College of Meteorology and Oceanography, PLA University of Science and Technology, No. 60 Shuanglong Street, Nanjing 211101, China. E-mail: liuleidll@gmail.com

Abstract

Cloud properties derived from the whole-sky infrared cloud-measuring system (WSIRCMS) are analyzed in relation to measurements of visual observations and a ceilometer during the period July–August 2010 at the Chinese Meteorological Administration Yangjiang Station, Guangdong Province, China. The comparison focuses on the performance and features of the WSIRCMS as a prototype instrument for automatic cloud observations. Cloud cover derived from the WSIRCMS cloud algorithm compares quite well with cloud cover derived from visual observations. Cloud cover differences between WSIRCMS and visual observations are within ±1 octa in 70.83% and within ±2 octa in 82.44% of the cases. For cloud-base height from WSIRCMS data and Vaisala ceilometer CL51, the comparison shows a generally good correspondence in the lower and midtroposphere up to the height of about 6 km, with some systematic difference due to different detection methods. Differences between the resulting cloud-type classifications derived from the WSIRCMS and from visual observations show that cumulus and cirrus are classified with high accuracy, but that stratocumulus and altocumulus are not. Stratocumulus and altocumulus are suggested to be treated as waveform cloud for classification purposes. In addition, it is considered an intractable problem for automatic cloud-measurement instruments to do cloud classification when the cloud amount is less than 2 octa.

Corresponding author address: Lei Liu, College of Meteorology and Oceanography, PLA University of Science and Technology, No. 60 Shuanglong Street, Nanjing 211101, China. E-mail: liuleidll@gmail.com
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