17 March 2015 Observing atmospheric clouds through stereo reconstruction
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Abstract
Observing cloud lifecycles and obtaining measurements on cloud features are significant problems in atmospheric cloud research. Scanning radars have been the most capable instruments to provide such measurements, but they have shortcomings when it comes to spatial and temporal resolution. High spatial and temporal resolution is particularly important to capture the variations in developing convections. Stereo photogrammetry can complement scanning radars with the potential to observe clouds as distant as tens of kilometers and to provide high temporal and spatial resolution, although it comes with the calibration challenges peculiar to various outdoor settings required to collect measurements on atmospheric clouds. This work explores the use of stereo photogrammetry in atmospheric cloud research, focusing on tracking vertical motion in developing convections. Calibration challenges and strategies to overcome these challenges are addressed within two different stereo settings in Miami, Florida and in the plains of Oklahoma. A feature extraction and matching algorithm is developed and implemented to identify cloud features of interest. A two-level resolution hierarchy is exploited in feature extraction and matching. 3D positions of cloud features are reconstructed from matched pixel pairs, and cloud tops of developing turrets in shallow to deep convection are tracked in time to estimate vertical accelerations. Results show that stereophotogrammetry provides a useful tool to observe cloud lifecycles and track the vertical acceleration of turrets exceeding 10 km height.
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Ruşen Öktem, David M. Romps, "Observing atmospheric clouds through stereo reconstruction", Proc. SPIE 9393, Three-Dimensional Image Processing, Measurement (3DIPM), and Applications 2015, 93930H (17 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2083395; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2083395
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