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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-284
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-284
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Sep 2018

Research article | 19 Sep 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript for further review has not been submitted.

Aircraft based Stereographic Reconstruction of 3D Cloud Geometry

Tobias Kölling, Tobias Zinner, and Bernhard Mayer Tobias Kölling et al.
  • Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Meteorologisches Institut, München, Germany

Abstract. This work describes a method to retrieve location and geometry of clouds using RGB images from a video camera on an aircraft and data from the aircraft's navigation system. Opposed to ordinary stereo methods where two cameras with fixed relative position at a certain distance are used to match images taken at the exact same moment, this method uses only a single camera and the aircrafts movement to provide the needed parallax. Advantages of this approach include a relatively simple installation on an aircraft and the possibility to use different image offsets, even larger than the size of the aircraft. Detrimental effects are the evolution of observed clouds during the time offset between two images as well as the background wind. However we will show that to some extent usable wind information can also be recovered. Our method allows the derivation of cloud top geometry which can be used, e.g., to provide location and distance information for other passive cloud remote sensing products. In addition it can also improve retrieval methods by providing cloud geometry information useful for the correction of 3D illumination effects. We show that this method works as intended by comparson to data from a simultaneously operated lidar system. The stereo method provides lower heights than the lidar method, on average by 126m. This behaviour is expected as the lidar method has a lower detection limit (leading to greater cloud top heights for the downward view) while the stereo method also retrieves data points on cloud sides and lower cloud layers (leading to lower cloud heights). Systematic errors across the measurement swath contribute less than 50m.

Tobias Kölling et al.
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Status: closed (peer review stopped)
Status: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed (peer review stopped)
Status: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Tobias Kölling et al.
Tobias Kölling et al.
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Latest update: 22 Jan 2019
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Short summary
Imaging technology allows to quickly gather information on larger cloud fields. Unlike using lidar or radar, it is difficult to obtain accurate position information about the observed clouds. This work presents a method to retrieve the missing position information using RGB images from an airborne video camera. Using field campaign data, we observe and explain a median offset of 126 m compared to lidar data and show that systematic errors across the measurement swath are well below 50 m.
Imaging technology allows to quickly gather information on larger cloud fields. Unlike using...
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