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Cloud Occurrence Frequency at Puy de Dôme (France) Deduced from an Automatic Camera Image Analysis: Method, Validation, and Comparisons with Larger Scale Parameters

Abstract : We present a simple algorithm that calculates the cloud occurrence frequency at an altitude site using automatic camera image analysis. This algorithm was applied at the puy de Dôme station (PUY, 1465 m. a.s.l., France) over 2013-2018. Cloud detection thresholds were determined by direct comparison with simultaneous in situ cloud probe measurements (particulate volume monitor (PVM) Gerber). The cloud occurrence frequency has a seasonal cycle, with higher values in winter (60%) compared to summer (24%). A cloud diurnal cycle is observed only in summer. Comparisons with the larger scale products from satellites and global model reanalysis are also presented. The NASA cloud-aerosol transport system (CATS) cloud fraction shows the same seasonal and diurnal variations and is, on average, 11% higher. Monthly variations of the ECMWF ERA-5 fraction of cloud cover are also highly correlated with the camera cloud occurrence frequency, but the values are 19% lower and up to 40% for some winter months. The METEOSAT-SEVIRI cloud occurrence frequency also follows the same seasonal cycle but with a much smaller decrease in summer. The all-sky imager cloud fraction (CF) presents larger variability than the camera cloud occurrence but also follows similar seasonal variations (67% in winter and 44% in summer). This automatic low-cost detection of cloud occurrence is of interest in characterizing altitude observation sites, especially those that are not yet equipped with microphysical instruments and can be deployed to other high-altitude sites equipped with cameras.
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Jean-Luc Baray, Asmaou Bah, Philippe Cacault, Karine Sellegri, Jean-Marc Pichon, et al.. Cloud Occurrence Frequency at Puy de Dôme (France) Deduced from an Automatic Camera Image Analysis: Method, Validation, and Comparisons with Larger Scale Parameters. Atmosphere, MDPI 2019, 10 (12), pp.808. ⟨10.3390/atmos10120808⟩. ⟨hal-02454008⟩

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