EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

PATMOS-x v6.0: Improvements to AVHRR Cloud Climate Record and Analysis of the Updated Data

Coda Phillips1, Michael Foster1, and Andrew Heidinger2
Coda Phillips et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America
  • 2NOAA/NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and Research, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

Since 1978, an Advanced Very-High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) has flown onboard 17 polar-orbiting satellites. Together, they are the longest global record from a homogeneous set of satellite sensors. The Pathfinder Atmosphere’s Extended (PATMOS-x) dataset is a long-term cloud record derived from the AVHRR radiances, and suitable for climate analysis. It has demonstrated intersensor stability and has been rigorously compared with other cloud datasets.

However, the AVHRR alone has only limited spectral information, so cloud detection during nighttime or over ice is challenging. Therefore, performance degrades over regions with extreme diurnal patterns or low temperatures such as the poles, despite our interest.

The next production version of PATMOS-x will include numerous algorithmic changes as well as the use of High-resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) spectral channels to improve detection accuracy in previously difficult conditions. The low-resolution HIRS soundings are upsampled to match the AVHRR pixels through an edge-preserving process called “fusion”. The higher-resolution AVHRR imagery guides the upsampling and the resulting combination is spectrally consistent with the AVHRR and has a high spatial resolution.

For cloud detection, the difference between the AVHRR and HIRS 11μm and HIRS 6.7μm brightness temperatures has been added as a feature in the naive Bayesian cloud detector. The effect on cloud precision is seen especially in the Antarctic where false-positive cloud detections have decreased dramatically.

Other cloud properties can be improved with the new spectral channels. For example, the new cloud phase algorithm uses the HIRS 6.7μm to determine cloud phase and the AVHRR and HIRS 11μm-13.3μm beta ratio identifies overlapping clouds. Also, the 11μm, 12μm, and HIRS 13.3μm are used in the new cloud height algorithm.

We report on the development of this new version of the PATMOS-x cloud climate dataset, and the methods used to calibrate and homogenize the participating sensors. Finally, observed trends in the improved dataset will be examined and related to the old dataset. In particular, attention will be given to whether high-latitude analysis of climatic trends is finally possible on the new dataset.

How to cite: Phillips, C., Foster, M., and Heidinger, A.: PATMOS-x v6.0: Improvements to AVHRR Cloud Climate Record and Analysis of the Updated Data, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10692,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.

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