Assimilation of Global Cloud Imagery from Multiple Satellites

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  • 1 Center for Atmospheric Theory and Analysis, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

Synoptic images of the global cloud field have been created from measurements of infrared radiation taken aboard four geostationary and two polar-orbiting platforms simultaneously observing the earth's cloud field. A series of spatial and temporal interpolations, together with data reliability criteria, are used to map synoptic measurements from the geostationary satellites and asynoptic measurements from the polar-orbiting satellites. The synoptic global cloud imagery (GCI) that results has a horizontal resolution of 0.7° in longitude by 0.35° in latitude and a temporal resolution of 3 h, providing an unprecedented view of the global cloud pattern. Each composite image represents a nearly instantaneous snapshot of the entire earth's cloud field. Collectively, the composite imagery resolve, on a global basis, most of the variability inherent to organized convection, including several harmonics of the diurnal cycle. Because of its homogeneous properties, the GCI lends itself easily to a variety of space-time analyses useful for studying global cloud behavior.

Abstract

Synoptic images of the global cloud field have been created from measurements of infrared radiation taken aboard four geostationary and two polar-orbiting platforms simultaneously observing the earth's cloud field. A series of spatial and temporal interpolations, together with data reliability criteria, are used to map synoptic measurements from the geostationary satellites and asynoptic measurements from the polar-orbiting satellites. The synoptic global cloud imagery (GCI) that results has a horizontal resolution of 0.7° in longitude by 0.35° in latitude and a temporal resolution of 3 h, providing an unprecedented view of the global cloud pattern. Each composite image represents a nearly instantaneous snapshot of the entire earth's cloud field. Collectively, the composite imagery resolve, on a global basis, most of the variability inherent to organized convection, including several harmonics of the diurnal cycle. Because of its homogeneous properties, the GCI lends itself easily to a variety of space-time analyses useful for studying global cloud behavior.

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