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Kenneth R. Knapp, Alisa H. Young, Hilawe Semunegus, Anand K. Inamdar, and William Hankins


The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) began collecting data in the 1980s to help understand the distribution of clouds. Since then, it has provided important information on clouds in time and space and their radiative characteristics. However, it was apparent from some long-term time series of the data that there are some latent artifacts related to the changing satellite coverage over the more than 30 years of the record. Changes in satellite coverage effectively create secular changes in the time series of view zenith angle (VZA) for a given location. There is an inconsistency in the current ISCCP cloud detection algorithm related to VZA: two satellites viewing the same location from different VZAs can produce vastly different estimates of cloud amount. Research is presented that shows that a simple change to the cloud detection algorithm can vastly increase the consistency. This is accomplished by making the cloud–no cloud threshold VZA dependent. The resulting cloud amounts are more consistent between different satellites and the distributions are shown to be more spatially homogenous. Likewise, the more consistent spatial data lead to more consistent temporal statistics.

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Ge Peng, Huai-Min Zhang, Helmut P. Frank, Jean-Raymond Bidlot, Masakazu Higaki, Scott Stevens, and William R. Hankins


To facilitate evaluation and monitoring of numerical weather prediction model forecasts and satellite-based products against high-quality in situ observations, a data repository for collocated model forecasts, a satellite product, and in situ observations has been created under the support of various World Climate Research Program (WCRP) working groups. Daily measurements from 11 OceanSITES buoys are used as the reference dataset to evaluate five ocean surface wind products (three short-range forecasts, one reanalysis, and one satellite based) over a 1-yr intensive analysis period, using the WCRP community weather prediction model evaluation metrics. All five wind products correlate well with the buoy winds with correlations above 0.76 for all 11 buoy stations except the meridional wind at four stations, where the satellite and model performances are weakest in estimating the meridional wind (or wind direction). The reanalysis has higher cross-correlation coefficients (above 0.83) and smaller root-mean-square (RMS) errors than others. The satellite wind shows larger variability than that observed by buoys; contrarily, the models underestimate the variability. For the zonal and meridional winds, although the magnitude of biases averaged over all the stations are mostly <0.12 m s−1 for each product, the magnitude of biases at individual stations can be >1.2 m s−1, confirming the need for regional/site analysis when characterizing any wind product. On wind direction, systematic negative (positive) biases are found in the central (east central) Pacific Ocean. Wind speed and direction errors could induce erroneous ocean currents and states from ocean models driven by these products. The deficiencies revealed here are useful for product and model improvement.

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