Scientific Basis and Initial Evaluation of the CLAVR-1 Global Clear/Cloud Classification Algorithm for the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

Larry L. Stowe, Paul A. Davis, E. Paul McClain
1999 Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology  
An algorithm for the remote sensing of global cloud cover using multispectral radiance measurements from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on board National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) polar-orbiting satellites has been developed. The CLAVR-1 (Clouds from AVHRR-Phase I) algorithm classifies 2 ϫ 2 pixel arrays from the Global Area Coverage (GAC) 4-km-resolution archived database into CLEAR, MIXED, and CLOUDY categories. The algorithm uses a sequence of
more » ... ectral contrast, spectral, and spatial signature threshold tests to perform the classification. The various tests and the derivation of their thresholds are presented. CLAVR-1 has evolved through experience in applying it to realtime NOAA-11 data, and retrospectively through the NOAA AVHRR Pathfinder Atmosphere project, where 16 years of data have been reprocessed into cloud, radiation budget, and aerosol climatologies. The classifications are evaluated regionally with image analysis, and it is concluded that the algorithm does well at classifying perfectly clear pixel arrays, except at high latitudes in their winter seasons. It also has difficulties with classifications over some desert and mountainous regions and when viewing regions of ocean specular reflection. Generally, the CLAVR-1 fractional cloud amounts, when computed using a statistically equivalent spatial coherence method, agree to within about 0.05-0.10 of image/analyst estimates on average. There is a tendency for CLAVR-1 to underestimate cloud amount when it is large and to overestimate it when small.
doi:10.1175/1520-0426(1999)016<0656:sbaieo>;2 fatcat:g5qpmukinfd3vdolkaeygs2us4