All-Sky imagery at Forecast Applications Branch

The LAPS system ( is being used to produce rapid update, high resolution analyses and forecasts of clouds. We are now producing simulated all-sky imagery from these analyses and forecasts. LAPS is highly portable and can be run onsite, particularly when high-resolution and rapid updating is needed. This allows the user to assimilate their own observational data merged with centrally available observations and to set up the analysis/forecast configuration to their liking. The 3-D cloud analysis, running over our Colorado 500-meter resolution domain uses satellite (including IR and 1-km resolution visible imagery, updated every 15-min), METARs, radar, aircraft and model first guess information to produce an hourly 3-D field of cloud fraction, cloud liquid, and cloud ice. The analysis is then converted using a ray-tracing technique into an all-sky image. More details in this powerpoint presentation and this AGU conference poster .

The image above on the left is simulated from the LAPS cloud analysis and other data, while the image on the right is from an all-sky camera maintained by the Earth Systems Research Laboratory at the same time. In each fisheye lens view the zenith is in the center and north is up.

Select Site — DSRC | Mount Evans | Longmont Astronomical Society

Latest all-sky comparison image | mask (site is DSRC)

Latest comparison animations (site is DSRC): Polar | Cylindrical

In these 360 degree panoramic views, the top is a simulated LAPS image and bottom is a remapped camera image from an all-sky camera maintained by the Earth Systems Research Laboratory. South is at the center of each image and north is at the edges.

Latest Simulated image | Latest Camera image (site is DSRC) | Sample forecast (HWT Kansas Case)

Comparison Archive Directories (site is DSRC): Polar | Cylindrical | Verification