Infrared cloud imaging systems characterization

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering


Infrared cloud imaging (ICI) is a useful tool for characterizing cloud cover for a variety of fields. Clouds play an important role in free-space high frequency (optical and mm-wave) terrestrial communications. Ground-based infrared imagers are used to provide long-term, high resolution (spatial and temporal) cloud data without the need for sunlight. This thesis describes the development and characterization of two ICI systems for deployment at remote field sites in support of Earth-to-space mm-wave and optical communication experiments. The hardware upgrades, calibration process, sensitivity analysis, system validation, and algorithm developments are all discussed for these systems. Relative spectral response sensitivity analysis is discussed in detail, showing as much as 35% calibrated scene radiance uncertainties when using generic manufacturer data in comparison with measured spectral responses. Cloud discrimination algorithms, as well as cloud phase (ice or water discrimination) algorithms are also discussed.




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