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Title: Determination of Cloud Base Height, Wind Velocity, and Short-Range Cloud Structure Using Multiple Sky Imagers Field Campaign Report

Clouds are a central focus of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program and Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, and more broadly are the subject of much investigation because of their important effects on atmospheric radiation and, through feedbacks, on climate sensitivity. Significant progress has been made by moving from a vertically pointing (“soda-straw”) to a three-dimensional (3D) view of clouds by investing in scanning cloud radars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Yet, because of the physical nature of radars, there are key gaps in ARM's cloud observational capabilities. For example, cloud radars often fail to detect small shallow cumulus and thin cirrus clouds that are nonetheless radiatively important. Furthermore, it takes five to twenty minutes for a cloud radar to complete a 3D volume scan and clouds can evolve substantially during this period. Ground-based stereo-imaging is a promising technique to complement existing ARM cloud observation capabilities. It enables the estimation of cloud coverage, height, horizontal motion, morphology, and spatial arrangement over an extended area of up to 30 by 30 km at refresh rates greater than 1 Hz (Peng et al. 2015). With fine spatial and temporal resolution ofmore » modern sky cameras, the stereo-imaging technique allows for the tracking of a small cumulus cloud or a thin cirrus cloud that cannot be detected by a cloud radar. With support from the DOE SunShot Initiative, the Principal Investigator (PI)’s team at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) has developed some initial capability for cloud tracking using multiple distinctly located hemispheric cameras (Peng et al. 2015). To validate the ground-based cloud stereo-imaging technique, the cloud stereo-imaging field campaign was conducted at the ARM Facility’s Southern Great Plains (SGP) site in Oklahoma from July 15 to December 24. As shown in Figure 1, the cloud stereo-imaging system consisted of two inexpensive high-definition (HD) hemispheric cameras (each cost less than $1,500) and ARM’s Total Sky Imager (TSI). Together with other co-located ARM instrumentation, the campaign provides a promising opportunity to validate stereo-imaging-based cloud base height and, more importantly, to examine the feasibility of cloud thickness retrieval for low-view-angle clouds.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  2. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
ARM Climate Research Facility, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
Research Org:
DOE Office of Science Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Contributing Orgs:
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES Southern Great Plains; Total Sky Imager; cloud observations