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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 4185-4201, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-7-4185-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
05 Dec 2014
Automatic cloud top height determination in mountainous areas using a cost-effective time-lapse camera system
H. M. Schulz1, S.-C. Chang2, B. Thies1, and J. Bendix1 1Laboratory for Climatology and Remote Sensing, Faculty of Geography, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany
2Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan
Abstract. A new method is presented for the determination of cloud top heights using the footage of a time-lapse camera that is placed above a frequently occurring cloud layer in a mountain valley. Contact points between cloud tops and underlying terrain are automatically detected in the camera image based on differences in the brightness, texture and movement of cloudy and non-cloudy areas. The height of the detected cloud top positions is determined by comparison with a digital elevation model projected to the view of the camera. The technique has been validated using data about the cloud immersion of a second camera as well as via visual assessment. The validation shows a high detection quality, especially regarding the requirements for the validation of satellite cloud top retrieval algorithms.

Citation: Schulz, H. M., Chang, S.-C., Thies, B., and Bendix, J.: Automatic cloud top height determination in mountainous areas using a cost-effective time-lapse camera system, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 4185-4201, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-7-4185-2014, 2014.
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Short summary
A new method is presented for the determination of cloud top heights using the footage of a time-lapse camera that is placed above a frequently occurring cloud layer in a mountain valley. Contact points between cloud tops and underlying terrain are automatically detected in the camera image based on differences in the brightness, texture and movement of cloudy and non-cloudy areas. The height of the detected cloud top positions is determined by comparison with a digital elevation model project.
A new method is presented for the determination of cloud top heights using the footage of a...
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