Remote Sensing Applications and Decision Support

Analysis of Air Force Weather Agency cloud data for assessing single and multiple scattering through clouds at optical wavelengths

[+] Author Affiliations
John R. Roadcap, Jeannette van den Bosch, Wellesley Pereira

Air Force Research Laboratory/Battlespace Surveillance Innovation Branch, 3550 Aberdeen Avenue, SE Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico 87117, United States

J. Appl. Remote Sens. 9(1), 096049 (May 21, 2015). doi:10.1117/1.JRS.9.096049
History: Received December 10, 2014; Accepted April 22, 2015
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Abstract.  The Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) has a long history of providing global cloud analyses and forecasts. Until recently, their focus has been on determining the cloud amount and cloud type. Satellite-based World-Wide Merged Cloud Analysis (WWMCA) data provided by the AFWA are analyzed to understand and assess their capability to characterize cloud single scattering parameters at optical wavelengths. WWMCA represents the most refined version of AFWA’s cloud depiction and forecast system and includes up to four cloud layers and 38 cloud parameters per file at each hemispheric grid point. Findings on WWMCA’s determination of cloud optical depth (COD), consistency with synoptic-scale cloud fields, and its ability to support radiative transfer calculations are as follows: (1) the WWMCA optical depth is strongly correlated with the theoretical optical depth at 550 nm computed using WWMCA’s cloud microphysical parameters. (2) WWMCA captures the large-scale spatial variation of COD as represented by the Mei-yu/Baiu onset and progression of synoptic cloud fields as well as the time-dependent character of mesoscale features. (3) WWMCA does not provide single scattering albedo and the cloud phase function which are needed to solve the radiative transfer equation. Because WWMCA is based on passive sensor processing, obscured cloud layers are not accounted for in the calculation of COD, which may lead to an underestimation of total COD.

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© 2015 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

John R. Roadcap ; Jeannette van den Bosch and Wellesley Pereira
"Analysis of Air Force Weather Agency cloud data for assessing single and multiple scattering through clouds at optical wavelengths", J. Appl. Remote Sens. 9(1), 096049 (May 21, 2015). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JRS.9.096049


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