All-Sky imagery at Forecast Applications BranchThe LAPS system (laps.noaa.gov) 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 . A recent ESRL news story on this work has been posted.
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.
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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.