CloudSat

Teaser image
CloudSat
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CloudSat is a satellite mission designed to measure the vertical structure of clouds from space. The radar data produces detailed images of cloud structures.

CloudSat is one of a constellation of satellites known as the A-Train (Cloudsat, CALIPSO, PARASOL, Aqua, Aura, GCOM-W1). The satellites fly in a nearly circular orbit with an equatorial altitude of approximately 705 km. The orbit is sun-synchronous, maintaining a roughly fixed angle between the orbital plane and the mean solar meridian. CloudSat maintains a close formation with Aqua and a particularly close formation with CALIPSO, providing near-simultaneous and collocated observations with the instruments on these two platforms.

CloudSat data are available as Level-2 and as part of the Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project (CFMIP) .

Key Limitations

Key Limitations

Monthly mean data are created only based on a limited number of samples since the ground track repeats every 16 days.

Please cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions
Suggested Data Citation
Dataset DOIs
None
Hosted Climate Index Files
None
Usage Restrictions
None

Expert Developer Guidance

Expert Developer Guidance

Furthermore, the CloudSat radar only generates a curtain or two-dimensional cross section through the atmosphere as the satellite moves along its orbital trajectory. Therefore multi-year seasonal mean is recommended because it provides a better representation of cloud statistics. The multi-year seasonal mean can be easily calculated from the monthly data and the radar overpass numbers should be used to weight the mean calculations.

http://climserv.ipsl.polytechnique.fr/cfmip-obs/

Key Figures

Climate Data Guide Image: CloudSat

Time mean total cloud fraction at various levels for June-Dec, 2006. (Climate Data Guide; D. Shea: see: http://www.ncl.ucar.edu/Applications/cloudsat.shtml)

Climate Data Guide Image: CloudSat

Radar reflectivity at various locations for June, 2006. (Climate Data Guide; D. Shea: see http://www.ncl.ucar.edu/Applications/cloudsat.shtml)

Climate Data Guide Image: CloudSat

Vertical cross sections at 150W (81S-81N), 8N (179W-179E) and a cross section spanning (20S,175W) to (38N,125W). (Climate Data Guide; D. Shea: see http://www.ncl.ucar.edu/Applications/cloudsat.shtml)

Other Information

Earth system components and main variables
Dataset collections
None

Years of record
to
Data time period extended
Yes, data set is extended
Timestep
Monthly
Domain
Formats:
Input Data
None
Vertical Levels:
Missing Data Flag
None
Ocean or Land
None
Spatial Resolution

2x2, 480m vertical resolution

Model Resolution (reanalysis)
None
Data Assimilation Method
None
Model Vintage (reanalysis)
None