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Title: Cloud Area Distributions of Shallow Cumuli: A New Method for Ground-Based Images

Abstract

We develop a new approach that resolves cloud area distributions of single-layer shallow cumuli from ground-based observations. Our simple and computationally inexpensive approach uses images obtained from a Total Sky Imager (TSI) and complementary information on cloud base height provided by lidar measurements to estimate cloud equivalent diameter (CED) over a wide range of cloud sizes (about 0.01–3.5 km) with high temporal resolution (30 s). We illustrate the feasibility of our approach by comparing the estimated CEDs with those derived from collocated and coincident high-resolution (0.03 km) Landsat cloud masks with different spatial and temporal patterns of cloud cover collected over the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site. We demonstrate that (1) good (~7%) agreement between TSI and Landsat characteristic cloud size can be obtained for clouds that fall within the region of the sky observable by the TSI and (2) large clouds that extend beyond this region are responsible for noticeable (~16%) underestimation of the TSI characteristic cloud size. Our approach provides a previously unavailable dataset for process studies in the convective boundary layer and evaluation of shallow cumuli in cloud-resolving models.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [3]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR (United States)
  2. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Cooperative Inst. for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
  3. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23). Climate and Environmental Sciences Division
OSTI Identifier:
1492296
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1597092
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-135771
Journal ID: ISSN 2073-4433; ATMOCZ
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830; SC0016084
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Atmosphere (Basel)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmosphere (Basel); Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2073-4433
Publisher:
MDPI
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 14 SOLAR ENERGY; 58 GEOSCIENCES; Atmospheric science; clouds; atmospheric radiation

Citation Formats

Kleiss, Jessica, Riley, Erin, Long, Charles, Riihimaki, Laura, Berg, Larry, Morris, Victor, and Kassianov, Evgueni. Cloud Area Distributions of Shallow Cumuli: A New Method for Ground-Based Images. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3390/atmos9070258.
Kleiss, Jessica, Riley, Erin, Long, Charles, Riihimaki, Laura, Berg, Larry, Morris, Victor, & Kassianov, Evgueni. Cloud Area Distributions of Shallow Cumuli: A New Method for Ground-Based Images. United States. doi:10.3390/atmos9070258.
Kleiss, Jessica, Riley, Erin, Long, Charles, Riihimaki, Laura, Berg, Larry, Morris, Victor, and Kassianov, Evgueni. Thu . "Cloud Area Distributions of Shallow Cumuli: A New Method for Ground-Based Images". United States. doi:10.3390/atmos9070258. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1492296.
@article{osti_1492296,
title = {Cloud Area Distributions of Shallow Cumuli: A New Method for Ground-Based Images},
author = {Kleiss, Jessica and Riley, Erin and Long, Charles and Riihimaki, Laura and Berg, Larry and Morris, Victor and Kassianov, Evgueni},
abstractNote = {We develop a new approach that resolves cloud area distributions of single-layer shallow cumuli from ground-based observations. Our simple and computationally inexpensive approach uses images obtained from a Total Sky Imager (TSI) and complementary information on cloud base height provided by lidar measurements to estimate cloud equivalent diameter (CED) over a wide range of cloud sizes (about 0.01–3.5 km) with high temporal resolution (30 s). We illustrate the feasibility of our approach by comparing the estimated CEDs with those derived from collocated and coincident high-resolution (0.03 km) Landsat cloud masks with different spatial and temporal patterns of cloud cover collected over the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site. We demonstrate that (1) good (~7%) agreement between TSI and Landsat characteristic cloud size can be obtained for clouds that fall within the region of the sky observable by the TSI and (2) large clouds that extend beyond this region are responsible for noticeable (~16%) underestimation of the TSI characteristic cloud size. Our approach provides a previously unavailable dataset for process studies in the convective boundary layer and evaluation of shallow cumuli in cloud-resolving models.},
doi = {10.3390/atmos9070258},
journal = {Atmosphere (Basel)},
number = 7,
volume = 9,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {7}
}

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