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A Comparison of Ground and Satellite Observations of Cloud Cover

Anthony J. Schreiner
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David A. Unger
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W. Paul Menzel
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Gary P. Ellrod
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Kathy I. Strabala
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Jackson L. Pellet
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A processing scheme that determines cloud height and amount based on radiances from the Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer Atmospheric Sounder (VAS) using a CO2 absorption technique has been installed on the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service VAS Data Utilization Center computer system in Washington, D.C. The processed data will complement the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS). ASOS uses automated ground equipment that provides near-continuous observations of surface weather data that are currently manually obtained. Geostationary multispectral infrared measurements are available every hour with information on clouds above the ASOS laser ceilometer viewing limit of 12 000 ft. The combined ASOS/satellite system will be able to depict cloud conditions at all levels up to 50 000 ft. The error rate of combined ASOS and satellite observations is less than 4% of the total sample in a comparison test with manual observations performed by National Weather Service personnel during March and April 1992. An attempt to distinguish thin from opaque clouds, by using a satellite-determined effective cloud amount, resulted in a substantial reduction in the discrepancies.

*Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

+Techniques Development Laboratory, Office of Systems Development, National Weather Service, NOAA, Washington, D.C.

@Systems Design and Applications Branch, National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service, NOAA, Madison, Wisconsin

**Physical Science Branch, National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service, NOAA, Washington, D.C.

*Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

++Program Requirements and Development Division, Office of Meteorology, National Weather Service, NOAA, Washington, D.C.

A processing scheme that determines cloud height and amount based on radiances from the Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer Atmospheric Sounder (VAS) using a CO2 absorption technique has been installed on the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service VAS Data Utilization Center computer system in Washington, D.C. The processed data will complement the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS). ASOS uses automated ground equipment that provides near-continuous observations of surface weather data that are currently manually obtained. Geostationary multispectral infrared measurements are available every hour with information on clouds above the ASOS laser ceilometer viewing limit of 12 000 ft. The combined ASOS/satellite system will be able to depict cloud conditions at all levels up to 50 000 ft. The error rate of combined ASOS and satellite observations is less than 4% of the total sample in a comparison test with manual observations performed by National Weather Service personnel during March and April 1992. An attempt to distinguish thin from opaque clouds, by using a satellite-determined effective cloud amount, resulted in a substantial reduction in the discrepancies.

*Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

+Techniques Development Laboratory, Office of Systems Development, National Weather Service, NOAA, Washington, D.C.

@Systems Design and Applications Branch, National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service, NOAA, Madison, Wisconsin

**Physical Science Branch, National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service, NOAA, Washington, D.C.

*Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

++Program Requirements and Development Division, Office of Meteorology, National Weather Service, NOAA, Washington, D.C.

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