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) .
Monthly mean data are created only based on a limited number of samples since the ground track repeats every 16 days.
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.
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Acknowledgement of any material taken from or knowledge gained from this page is appreciated:
National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified 2022-09-09 "The Climate Data Guide: CloudSat.” Retrieved from https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/cloudsat on 2023-09-26.
Citation of datasets is separate and should be done according to the data providers' instructions. If known to us, data citation instructions are given in the Data Access section, above.
Acknowledgement of the Climate Data Guide project is also appreciated:
Schneider, D. P., C. Deser, J. Fasullo, and K. E. Trenberth, 2013: Climate Data Guide Spurs Discovery and Understanding. Eos Trans. AGU, 94, 121–122, https://doi.org/10.1002/2013eo130001
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)
2x2, 480m vertical resolution
- Zhang , Y .et al (2010): Evaluation of tropical cloud and precipitation statistics of Community Atmosphere Model version 3 using CloudSat and CALIPSO data, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D12205
- Mace, G. G., et al. (2009): A description of hydrometeor layer occurrence statistics derived from the first year of merged CloudSat and CALIPSO data, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D00A26
- Marchand, R.T, et al (2009): A comparison of simulated cloud radar output from the multi-scale modeling framework global climate model with CloudSat cloud radar observations, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D00A20
- Marchand, R. T. et al (2008): Hydrometeor detection using CloudSat-an earth orbiting 94 GHz cloud radar. J. Atmos. Oceanic. Technol., 25, 519-533
- Stubenrauch, C., W. Rossow and S. Kinne (2012), Assessment of Global Cloud Data Sets from Satellites, A Project of the World Climate Research Programme Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Radiation Panel, WCRP Report No. 23/2012, 176 pp (.pdf).