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Proceedings Paper

Strategies for cloud-top phase determination: differentiation between thin cirrus clouds and snow in manual (ground truth) analyses
Author(s): Keith D. Hutchison; Brian J. Etherton; Phillip C. Topping
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Paper Abstract

Quantitative assessments on the performance of automated cloud analysis algorithms require the creation of highly accurate, manual cloud, no cloud (CNC) images from multispectral meteorological satellite data. In general, the methodology to create ground truth analyses for the evaluation of cloud detection algorithms is relatively straightforward. However, when focus shifts toward quantifying the performance of automated cloud classification algorithms, the task of creating ground truth images becomes much more complicated since these CNC analyses must differentiate between water and ice cloud tops while ensuring that inaccuracies in automated cloud detection are not propagated into the results of the cloud classification algorithm. The process of creating these ground truth CNC analyses may become particularly difficult when little or no spectral signature is evident between a cloud and its background, as appears to be the case when thin cirrus is present over snow-covered surfaces. In this paper, procedures are described that enhance the researcher's ability to manually interpret and differentiate between thin cirrus clouds and snow-covered surfaces in daytime AVHRR imagery. The methodology uses data in up to six AVHRR spectral bands, including an additional band derived from the daytime 3.7 micron channel, which has proven invaluable for the manual discrimination between thin cirrus clouds and snow. It is concluded that while the 1.6 micron channel remains essential to differentiate between thin ice clouds and snow. However, this capability that may be lost if the 3.7 micron data switches to a nighttime-only transmission with the launch of future NOAA satellites.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 December 1996
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2961, Satellite Remote Sensing and Modeling of Clouds and the Atmosphere, (20 December 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.262488
Show Author Affiliations
Keith D. Hutchison, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Co., Inc. (United States)
Brian J. Etherton, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Co., Inc. (United States)
Phillip C. Topping, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Co., Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2961:
Satellite Remote Sensing and Modeling of Clouds and the Atmosphere
Juergen Fischer, Editor(s)

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