14 December 1998 Cloud recognition from ground-based solar radiation measurements: preliminary results
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Despite cloud recognition techniques that can routinely identify cloud classes form satellite images, observation of clouds from the ground is still needed to acquire a complete description of cloud climatology. Solar radiation in a given site is one of the meteorological magnitudes that are most affected by cloud cover. Presently, the number of stations where both global and diffuse total solar radiation is measured is growing, due basically to energetic applications of solar radiation. Global and diffuse hourly irradiation, along with some measure of the temporal variability of solar radiation, are used in this paper to describe the sky condition, and to classify it into several cloud types. A classical maximum likelihood method is applied for clustering data. One year of solar radiation data and cloud observations at a site in Catalonia, Spain is used to illustrate the ability of solar radiation measurements to describe cloud types. Preliminary results of the above methodology show that three clusters appear using global and diffuse hourly irradiation only. Fog, stratus, and stratocumulus from the first group. A second group includes altocumulus alone or mixed with other clouds, as well as scattered cumulus congestus. In a third group, we find clear skies, cirrus and scattered cumulus. Especially in this third group, variability of solar radiation within an hour helps to separate different situations.
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Josep Calbo, Josep Calbo, Josep-Abel Gonzalez, Josep-Abel Gonzalez, "Cloud recognition from ground-based solar radiation measurements: preliminary results", Proc. SPIE 3495, Satellite Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere III, (14 December 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.332685; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.332685

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