Articles | Volume 8, issue 9
Research article
23 Sep 2015
Research article |  | 23 Sep 2015

A novel approach for the extraction of cloud motion vectors using airglow imager measurements

S. Satheesh Kumar, T. Narayana Rao, and A. Taori

Abstract. The paper explores the possibility of implementing an advanced photogrammetric technique, generally employed for satellite measurements, on airglow imager, a ground-based remote sensing instrument primarily used for upper atmospheric studies, measurements of clouds for the extraction of cloud motion vectors (CMVs). The major steps involved in the algorithm remain the same, including image processing for better visualization of target elements and noise removal, identification of target cloud, setting a proper search window for target cloud tracking, estimation of cloud height, and employing 2-D cross-correlation to estimate the CMVs. Nevertheless, the implementation strategy at each step differs from that of satellite, mainly to suit airglow imager measurements. For instance, climatology of horizontal winds at the measured site has been used to fix the search window for target cloud tracking. The cloud height is estimated very accurately, as required by the algorithm, using simultaneous collocated lidar measurements. High-resolution, both in space and time (4 min), cloud imageries are employed to minimize the errors in retrieved CMVs. The derived winds are evaluated against MST radar-derived winds by considering it as a reference. A very good correspondence is seen between these two wind measurements, both showing similar wind variation. The agreement is also found to be good in both the zonal and meridional wind velocities with RMSEs < 2.4 m s−1. Finally, the strengths and limitations of the algorithm are discussed, with possible solutions, wherever required.