Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Atmosphere, Oceans, and Climate

Observing clouds in 4D with multi-view stereo photogrammetry

Monday, August 6, 2018

Six cameras along a 12-km-diameter circle are generating a 4D view of clouds at the Southern Great Plains atmospheric observatory in Oklahoma.

Newly installed stereo cameras ringing the Southern Great Plains (SGP) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Oklahoma are providing a 4D gridded view of shallow clouds. Six digital cameras have been installed in pairs at a distance of 6 kilometers from the site and with a spacing of 500 meters between cameras in a pair. These pairs of cameras provide stereoscopic views of shallow clouds from all sides; when these data are combined, they allow for a complete stereo reconstruction. The result – the Clouds Optically Gridded by Stereo (COGS) product – is a 4D grid of cloudiness covering a 6 km × 6 km × 6 km cube at a spatial resolution of 50 meters and a temporal resolution of 20 seconds. This provides an unprecedented set of data on the sizes, lifetimes, and lifecycles of shallow clouds. This type of information is critical for developing cloud macrophysical schemes for the next generation of weather and climate models.

Published Online: 30 July 2018

David M. Romps* and Ruşen Öktem Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA
Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA