The JEM-EUSO (Japanese Experiment Module-Extreme Universe Space Observatory) telescope will measure Ultra High Energy Cosmic Ray properties by detecting the UV fluorescent light generated in the interaction between cosmic rays and the atmosphere. Cloud information is crucial for a proper interpretation of these data. The problem of recovering the cloud-top height from satellite images in infrared has struck some attention over the last few decades, as a valuable tool for the atmospheric monitoring. A number of radiative methods do exist, like C02 slicing and Split Window algorithms, using one or more infrared bands. A different way to tackle the problem is, when possible, to exploit the availability of multiple views, and recover the cloud top height through stereo imaging and triangulation. A crucial step in the 3D reconstruction is the process that attempts to match a characteristic point or features selected in one image, with one of those detected in the second image. In this article the performance of a group matching algorithms that include both area-based and global techniques, has been tested. They are applied to stereo pairs of satellite IR images with the final aim of evaluating the cloud top height. Cloudy images from SEVIRI on the geostationary Meteosat Second Generation 9 and 10 (MSG-2, MSG-3) have been selected. After having applied to the cloudy scenes the algorithms for stereo matching, the outcoming maps of disparity are transformed in depth maps according to the geometry of the reference data system. As ground truth we have used the height maps provided by the database of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on-board Terra/Aqua polar satellites, that contains images quasi-synchronous to the imaging provided by MSG.
Cloud parameters such as the Cloud Top Height (CTH), Cloud Top Temperature (CTT), emissivity, particle size and optical depth have always been matter of interest for the atmospheric community. Particularly the CTH provides information leading to better understand the cloud radiative effects. Although there are many meteorological satellites providing the CTH, there are other sensors, not devoted to this purpose, that give some information from which this crucial parameter can be estimated. In this contribution we will describe three different methodologies to retrieve the CTH. The first technique is based on stereo-vision algorithms and requires two different views of the same scene and does not need of extra atmospheric information. In the second one, brightness temperatures in two IR spectral bands are converted to real cloud temperature by means of the proposed algorithms. From the CTT, the CTH is estimated using temperature vertical profiles (measured or modeled). The third technique retrieves the CTH from the output parameters of post event simulations performed by a Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) model that in this work will be the mesoscale model WRF (Weather Research Forecast). This article presents a preliminary work, in which the heights retrieved by the three methodologies applied to the geostationary satellite Meteosat 10 are compared with the heights given by MODIS sensor installed on the polar satellite AQUA. This promising results show that valuable information about CTH can be retrieved from Meteosat which provide high frequency and large scale data useful for weather and climate research.
This paper presents an ongoing study for the estimation of the cloud-top height by using only geometrical methods. It is based on the hypothesis that an infra-red camera is on board a satellite and pairs of images concern nearly the same scene. Stereo-vision techniques are therefore explored in order to test the methodology for height retrieval and in particular results of several techniques of stereo matching are evaluated. This study includes area-based matching algorithms by implementing the basic versions, without considering any further steps of optimisation to improve the results. Dense depth maps are the final outputs whose reliability is verified by computing error statistics with respect to a set of Digital Terrain Elevation Data, used as ground truth for a set of nearly cloud free images. A set of real pairs of images from the Along-Track Scanning Radiometer2 11μm data set, has been considered. The evaluated errors range between .75 and .80 km, that is not a particularly bad result if it is compared to the resolution of the ATSR2 pixel (1 km resolution).