THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS
Measurements > Atmosphere >
Cloud type, amount and cloud top temperature >
Cloud cover


Measurement Definition*: Fraction of sky filled by clouds, in several layers. Requested in the troposphere (assumed height: 12 km), and as projection of the total column - Physical unit: [ % ] - Accuracy unit: [ % ].
InstrumentStatus/
Accuracy
Instrument DescriptionMeasurement TechnologyTimeline
ABI
Advanced Baseline Imager
Operational
Detects clouds, cloud properties, water vapour, land and sea surface temperatures, dust, aerosols, volcanic ash, fires, total ozone, snow and ice cover, vegetation index.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
AGRI
Advanced Geosynchronous Radiation Imager
Operational
A multiple channel radiation imager, one of the primary instruments aboard FY-4. Technically featured by a precisely designed two-mirror structure, capable of accurate and flexible sensing in two dimensions, and minute-level fast sector scanning. Frequent Earth imaging over 14 bands with off-axis three reflections of the primary optic system. On-board black body available for IR calibrations at very short time intervals.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
AHI
Advanced Himawari Imager
Operational
Measures cloud cover, cloud motion, cloud height, cloud properties, water vapour, rainfalll, sea surface temperatures and Earth radiation, dust, aerosols, volcanic ash, fires, snow and ice cover.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
AIRS
Atmospheric Infra-red Sounder
Operational
High spectral resolution measurement of temperature and humidity profiles in the atmosphere. Long-wave Earth surface emissivity. Cloud diagnostics. Trace gas profiles. Surface temperatures.Medium-resolution IR spectrometer
AVHRR/3
Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer/3
Operational
Measurements of land and sea surface temperature, cloud cover, snow and ice cover, soil moisture and vegetation indices. Data also used for volcanic eruption monitoring.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
CAPI
Cloud and Aerosol Polarization Imager
Operational
Measures aerosol and cloudn/a
CPR (CloudSat)
Cloud Profiling Radar
Operational
Primary goal to provide data needed to evaluate and improve the way clouds are represented in global climate models. Measures vertical profile of clouds.Cloud and precipitation radar
EPIC
Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera
Operational
Diurnal measurements of ozone, UV surface radiation, clouds and aerosols.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
ETM+
Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus
Operational
Measures surface radiance and emittance, land cover state and change (eg vegetation type). Used as multi-purpose imagery for land applications.n/a
IIR
Imaging Infrared Radiometer
Operational
Radiometer optimised for combined IIR/lidar retrievals of cirrus particle size.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
IKFS-2
IR-Fourier spectrometer
Operational
Atmospheric temperature/humidity profiles, data on cloud parameters, water vapour & ozone column amounts, surface temperature.n/a
MISR
Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer
Operational
Measurements of global surface albedo, aerosol and vegetation properties. Also provides multi-angle bidirectional data (1% angle-to-angle accuracy) for cloud cover and reflectances at the surface and aerosol opacities. Global and local modes.n/a
MODIS
MODerate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
Operational
Data on biological and physical processes on the surface of the Earth and in the lower atmosphere, and on global dynamics. Surface temperatures of land and ocean, chlorophyll fluorescence, land cover measurements, cloud cover (day and night).n/a
MSI
Multi Spectral Imager
Operational
High resolution images with short observing cycle for commercial and scientific applications.n/a
MSU-GS
Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Operational
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, albedo, vegetation, convection, air mass analysis, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and surface temperature, fire detection.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
OLCI
Ocean and Land Colour Imager
Operational
Marine and land services.n/a
OLI
Operational Land Imager
Operational
Measures surface radiance, land cover state and change (eg vegetation type). Used as multi-purpose imagery for land applications.n/a
OLS
Operational Linescan System
Operational
Day and night cloud cover imagery.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
ScaRaB
Scanner for Earth's Radiation Budget
Operational
Measures top-of-atmosphere shortwave radiation (0.2 - 4.0 µm) and total radiation (0.2 - 50 µm). Two additional narrow-band channels (0.5 - 0.7 µm and 11 - 12 µm) allow cloud detection and scene identification.n/a
SEVIRI
Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-Red Imager
Operational
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, vegetation, radiation fluxes, convection, air mass analysis, cirrus cloud discrimination, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and sea surface temperature.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
SGLI
Second-generation Global Imager
Operational
+/-15 %
Medium resolution multi-spectral imaging of land, ocean and atmosphere. SGLI-VNR is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel nadir observation at wavelengths from near-UV to NIR and forward or backward polarization observation at red and near infrared wavelengths (Push-broom scanning). SGLI-IRS is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel nadir observation at wavelengths from SWIR to TIR wavelengths (Cross-track scanning).n/a
Sounder
Sounder
Operational
Atmospheric soundings and data on atmospheric stability and thermal gradient winds.n/a
TANSO-CAI
Thermal And Near infrared Sensor for carbon Observation - Cloud and Aerosol Imager
Operational
Detection and correction of cloud and aerosol for TANSO-FTS.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
TANSO-CAI-2
Thermal And Near infrared Sensor for carbon Observation - Cloud and Aerosol Imager-2
Operational
Detection and correction of cloud and aerosol for TANSO-FTS, aerosol characteristicsMulti-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
TIRS
Thermal Infrared Sensor
Operational
Measures surface emittance, lands cover state and change). Used as multipurpose imagery for land applications.n/a
VIIRS
Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite
Operational
Global observations of land, ocean, and atmosphere parameters: cloud/weather imagery, sea-surface temperature, ocean colour, land surface vegetation indices.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
CPR (EarthCARE)
Cloud Profiling Radar (EarthCARE)
Being developed
Measurement of cloud properties, light precipitation, vertical motion.Cloud and precipitation radar
FCI
Flexible Combined Imager
Being developed
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, vegetation, radiation fluxes, convection, air mass analysis, cirrus cloud discrimination, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and sea surface temperature.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
OLI-2
Operational Land Imager-2
Being developed
Measures surface radiance, land cover state and change (e.g., vegetation type). Used as multi-purpose imagery for land applications.n/a
MSU-GS/VE
Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Approved
Operational metrology, hydrology, climate monitoring and environmental monitoringMulti-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
MVIRS
Moderate Resolution Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectroradiometer
Approved
Measures surface temperature and cloud and ice cover. Used for snow and flood monitoring and surface temperature.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
TIRS-2
Thermal Infrared Sensor - 2
Approved
Measures longwave thermal infrared surface emittance, land cover state and change. Used as multipurpose imagery for land applications. TIRS-2 will adhere to the Landsat 8 TIRS instrument performance specifications, but will be built to NASA Class-B instrument standards (including a 5-year design life).n/a
Cloud Radar
Cloud radar (ACE)
Proposed
Radar measurement for cloud droplets and precipitation.Cloud and precipitation radar
IKFS-3
Advanced Fourier spectrometer
Proposed
Atmospheric temperature/humidity profiles, data on cloud parameters, water vapour & ozone column amounts, surface temperature.n/a
* Description adapted from WMO.
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