Articles | Volume 6, issue 12
01 Nov 2006
01 Nov 2006

Discriminating raining from non-raining clouds at mid-latitudes using multispectral satellite data

T. Nauss and A. A. Kokhanovsky

Abstract. We propose a new method for the delineation of precipitation using cloud properties derived from optical satellite data. This approach is not only sufficient for the detection of mainly convective precipitation by means of the commonly used connection between infrared cloud top temperature and rainfall probability but enables the detection of stratiform precipitation (e.g., in connection with mid-latitude frontal systems). The scheme presented is based on the concept model, that precipitating clouds must have both a sufficient vertical extent and large enough droplets. Therefore, we have analysed MODIS scenes during the severe European summer floods in 2002 and retrieved functions for the computation of an auto-adaptive threshold value of the effective cloud droplet radius with respect to the corresponding optical thickness which links these cloud properties with rainfall areas on a pixel basis.

Final-revised paper