All-Sky imagery at Earth Modeling 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. 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 GSD seminar, this AMS 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. The color balance of the simulated image is set to look reasonably good under typical viewing conditions. However if you want a truer apples to apples comparison (if for example you take your computer outside or right by a window), then please set your display to a color temperature of 5000K.

Select Site — DSRC | Mount Evans | Longmont Astronomical Society | BAO Tower | Pikes Peak (under construction)

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 | animation (site is DSRC) | Sample forecast (HWT Kansas Case)

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