Multichannel analysis of correlation length of SEVIRI images around ground-based cloud observatories to determine their representativeness
Abstract. Images of measured radiance in different channels of the geostationary Meteosat-9 SEVIRI instrument are analysed with respect to the representativeness of the observations of eight cloud observatories in Europe (e.g. measurements from cloud radars or microwave radiometers). Cloudy situations are selected to get a time series for every pixel in a 300 km × 300 km area centred around each ground station. Then a cross correlation of each time series to the pixel nearest to the corresponding ground site is calculated. In the end a correlation length is calculated to define the representativeness.
It is found that measurements in the visible and near infrared channels, which respond to cloud physical properties, are correlated in an area with a 1 to 4 km radius, while the thermal channels, that correspond to cloud top temperature, are correlated to a distance of about 20 km. This also points to a higher variability of the cloud microphysical properties inside a cloud than of the cloud top temperature. The correlation length even increases for the channels at 6.2, 7.3 and 9.7 μm. They respond to radiation from the upper atmospheric layers emitted by atmospheric gases and higher level clouds, which are more homogeneous than low-level clouds.
Additionally, correlations at different distances, corresponding to the grid box sizes of forecast models, were compared. The results suggest the possibility of comparisons between instantaneous cloud observations from ground sites and regional forecast models and ground-based measurements. For larger distances typical for global models the correlations decrease, especially for short-wave measurements and corresponding cloud products. By comparing daily means, the correlation length of each station is increased to about 3 to 10 times the value of instantaneous measurements and also the comparability to models grows.