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A comparison of satellite winds and surface buoy winds Bepple, Nancy


This thesis investigates the relationship between open hexagonal cell cloud motion and surface winds in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Cloud targets are tracked using an automatic scheme fashioned after Barnea and Silverman's (1972) Sequential Similarity Detection Algorithm. The cloud motion vectors obtained are comparable to results obtained by tracking the same cloud targets manually. The well-organized character of open hexagonal cells permits a comparison of various methods of estimating the height of the cloud motion vectors. One method, which uses the minimum infrared pixel value, and a second method, which establishes an arbitrary minimum cloud top temperature, are both found to be unsuitable because of cirrus contamination and partially cloud filled pixels. The cloud motion winds for open hexagonal cells and disorganized cumulus clouds are compared with winds measured at collocated surface buoys. The lack of directional shears between open hexagonal cell movements and surface winds, and directional shears of 14° to 27° for the disorganized cumulus clouds, agree with other observations for the two types of clouds. The differences between the two cloud types suggests that any estimate of surface winds from cloud motion should include cloud type information.

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