Evaluation of CLARA-A2 and ISCCP-H Cloud Cover Climate Data Records over Europe with ECA&D Ground-Based Measurements

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Vasileios Tzallas ; Nikos Hatzianastassiou ; Nikos Benas ; Jan Fokke Meirink ; Christos Matsoukas ; Paul Stackhouse ; Ilias Vardavas (2019)
  • Publisher: MDPI AG
  • Journal: Remote Sensing (issn: 2072-4292)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3390/rs11020212
  • Subject: total cloud cover | CLARA-A2 | ISCCP-H | ECA&amp | D | satellites | ground measurements | Europe | comparison | validation | climatology | Science | Q

Clouds are of high importance for the climate system but they still remain one of its principal uncertainties. Remote sensing techniques applied to satellite observations have assisted tremendously in the creation of long-term and homogeneous data records; however, satellite data sets need to be validated and compared with other data records, especially ground measurements. In the present study, the spatiotemporal distribution and variability of Total Cloud Cover (TCC) from the Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring (CM SAF) Cloud, Albedo And Surface Radiation dataset from AVHRR data—edition 2 (CLARA-A2) and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project H-series (ISCCP-H) is analyzed over Europe. The CLARA-A2 data record has been created using measurements of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument onboard the polar orbiting NOAA and the EUMETSAT MetOp satellites, whereas the ISCCP-H data were produced by a combination of measurements from geostationary meteorological satellites and the AVHRR instrument on the polar orbiting satellites. An intercomparison of the two data records is performed over their common period, 1984 to 2012. In addition, a comparison of the two satellite data records is made against TCC observations at 22 meteorological stations in Europe, from the European Climate Assessment & Dataset (ECA&D). The results indicate generally larger ISCCP-H TCC with respect to the corresponding CLARA-A2 data, in particular in the Mediterranean. Compared to ECA&D data, both satellite datasets reveal a reasonable performance, with overall mean TCC biases of 2.1 and 5.2% for CLARA-A2 and ISCCP-H, respectively. This, along with the higher correlation coefficients between CLARA-A2 and ECA&D TCC, indicates the better performance of CLARA-A2 TCC data.
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