skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

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

Abstract

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

Authors:
 [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:
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)
OSTI Identifier:
1294258
Report Number(s):
DOE/SC-ARM-16-041
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-7601830
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Southern Great Plains; Total Sky Imager; cloud observations

Citation Formats

Huang, Dong, Schwartz, Stephen E., and Yu, Dantong. Determination of Cloud Base Height, Wind Velocity, and Short-Range Cloud Structure Using Multiple Sky Imagers Field Campaign Report. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1294258.
Huang, Dong, Schwartz, Stephen E., & Yu, Dantong. Determination of Cloud Base Height, Wind Velocity, and Short-Range Cloud Structure Using Multiple Sky Imagers Field Campaign Report. United States. doi:10.2172/1294258.
Huang, Dong, Schwartz, Stephen E., and Yu, Dantong. 2016. "Determination of Cloud Base Height, Wind Velocity, and Short-Range Cloud Structure Using Multiple Sky Imagers Field Campaign Report". United States. doi:10.2172/1294258. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1294258.
@article{osti_1294258,
title = {Determination of Cloud Base Height, Wind Velocity, and Short-Range Cloud Structure Using Multiple Sky Imagers Field Campaign Report},
author = {Huang, Dong and Schwartz, Stephen E. and Yu, Dantong},
abstractNote = {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 of 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.},
doi = {10.2172/1294258},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 7
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • The Radar Wind Profiler for Cloud Forecasting at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) [http://www.arm.gov/campaigns/osc2013rwpcf] campaign was scheduled to take place from 15 July 2013 through 15 July 2015 (or until shipped for the next U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement [ARM] Climate Research Facility first Mobile Facility [AMF1] deployment). The campaign involved the deployment of the AMF1 Scintec 915 MHz Radar Wind Profiler (RWP) at BNL, in conjunction with several other ARM, BNL and National Weather Service (NWS) instruments. The two main scientific foci of the campaign were: 1) To provide profiles of the horizontal wind to be used tomore » test and validate short-term cloud advection forecasts for solar-energy applications and 2) to provide vertical profiling capabilities for the study of dynamics (i.e., vertical velocity) and hydrometeors in winter storms. This campaign was a serendipitous opportunity that arose following the deployment of the RWP at the Two-Column Aerosol Project (TCAP) campaign in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and restriction from participation in the Green Ocean Amazon 2014/15 (GoAmazon 2014/15) campaign due to radio-frequency allocation restriction for international deployments. The RWP arrived at BNL in the fall of 2013, but deployment was delayed until fall of 2014 as work/safety planning and site preparation were completed. The RWP further encountered multiple electrical failures, which eventually required several shipments of instrument power supplies and the final amplifier to the vendor to complete repairs. Data collection began in late January 2015. The operational modes of the RWP were changed such that in addition to collecting traditional profiles of the horizontal wind, a vertically pointing mode was also included for the purpose of precipitation sensing and estimation of vertical velocities. The RWP operated well until the end of the campaign in July 2015 and collected observations for more than 20 precipitation events.« less
  • The Radar Wind Profiler for Cloud Forecasting at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) [http://www.arm.gov/campaigns/osc2013rwpcf] campaign was scheduled to take place from 15 July 2013 through 15 July 2015 (or until shipped for the next U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement [ARM] Climate Research Facility first Mobile Facility [AMF1] deployment). The campaign involved the deployment of the AMF1 Scintec 915 MHz Radar Wind Profiler (RWP) at BNL, in conjunction with several other ARM, BNL and National Weather Service (NWS) instruments. The two main scientific foci of the campaign were: 1) To provide profiles of the horizontal wind to be used tomore » test and validate short-term cloud advection forecasts for solar-energy applications and 2) to provide vertical profiling capabilities for the study of dynamics (i.e., vertical velocity) and hydrometeors in winter storms. This campaign was a serendipitous opportunity that arose following the deployment of the RWP at the Two-Column Aerosol Project (TCAP) campaign in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and restriction from participation in the Green Ocean Amazon 2014/15 (GoAmazon 2014/15) campaign due to radio-frequency allocation restriction for international deployments. The RWP arrived at BNL in the fall of 2013, but deployment was delayed until fall of 2014 as work/safety planning and site preparation were completed. The RWP further encountered multiple electrical failures, which eventually required several shipments of instrument power supplies and the final amplifier to the vendor to complete repairs. Data collection began in late January 2015. The operational modes of the RWP were changed such that in addition to collecting traditional profiles of the horizontal wind, a vertically pointing mode was also included for the purpose of precipitation sensing and estimation of vertical velocities. The RWP operated well until the end of the campaign in July 2015 and collected observations for more than 20 precipitation events.« less
  • The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is used to investigate choice of land surface model (LSM) on the near-surface wind profile, including heights reached by multi-megawatt wind turbines. Simulations of wind profiles and surface energy fluxes were made using five LSMs of varying degrees of sophistication in dealing with soil-plant-atmosphere feedbacks for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility’s Southern Great Plains (SGP) Central Facility in Oklahoma. Surface-flux and wind-profile measurements were available for validation. The WRF model was run for three two-week periods during which varying canopy and meteorological conditions existed. Themore » LSMs predicted a wide range of energy-flux and wind-shear magnitudes even during the cool autumn period when we expected less variability. Simulations of energy fluxes varied in accuracy by model sophistication, whereby LSMs with very simple or no soil-plant-atmosphere feedbacks were the least accurate; however, the most complex models did not consistently produce more accurate results. Errors in wind shear also were sensitive to LSM choice and were partially related to the accuracy of energy flux data. The variability of LSM performance was relatively high, suggesting that LSM representation of energy fluxes in the WRF model remains a significant source of uncertainty for simulating wind turbine inflow conditions.« less
  • In this, the first of a series of Program Metric Reports, we (1) describe archived data from the DOE G-1 aircraft, (2) illustrate several relations between sub-cloud aerosol, CCN, and cloud droplets pertinent to determining the effects of pollutant sources on cloud properties, and (3) post to the data archive an Excel spreadsheet that contains cloud and corresponding sub-cloud data.
  • The objective of this internal research and development (IRAD)-funded campaign by Aerodyne Research, Inc. was to demonstrate the field-worthiness and assess the performance of a real-time cloud optical depth (COD) sensor (dubbed three-waveband spectrally-agile technique [TWST]) through a side-by-side comparison with proven, ground-based operational sensors currently deployed at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility Mobile Facility (AMF) site on the Cape Cod National Seashore for the Two-Column Aerosol Project (TCAP). We anticipated direct comparisons with the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET; when in cloud mode) and SAS instruments and expected ancillary data from othermore » sensors such as the Total Sky Imager, the Scanning Cloud Radar, and the Microwave Radiometer to facilitate and validate these comparisons. Because the cloud optical depth retrieval algorithms used by AERONET, solar array spectrometer (SAS), and TWST are totally independent, this deployment provided a unique opportunity to evaluate the field performance of TWST. If the effort proves successful, it may qualify TWST for operational service or additional evaluation effort.« less