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Hutchison, KD, Roskovensky, JK, Jackson, JM, Heidinger, AK, Kopp, TJ, Pavolonis, MJ, Frey, R (2005). Automated cloud detection and classification of data collected by the visible infrared imager radiometer suite (VIIRS). INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 26(21), 4681-4706.

The Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is a high-resolution Earth imager of the United States National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). VIIRS has its heritage in three sensors currently collecting imagery of the Earth-the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, and the Operational Linescan Sensor. The first launch of the VIIRS sensor is on NASA's NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP). Data collected by VIIRS will provide products to a variety of users, supporting applications from real-time to longterm climate change timescales. VIIRS has been uniquely designed to satisfy this full range of requirements. Cloud masks derived from the automated analyses of VIIRS data are critical data products for the NPOESS program. In this paper, the VIIRS cloud mask (VCM) performance requirements are highlighted, along with the algorithm developed to satisfy these requirements. The expected performance of the VCM algorithm is established using global synthetic cloud simulations and manual cloud analyses of VIIRS proxy imagery. These results show the VCM analyses will satisfy the performance expectations of products created from it, including land and ocean surface products, cloud microphysical products, and automated cloud forecast products. Finally, minor deficiencies that remain in the VCM algorithm logic are identified along with a mitigation plan to resolve each prior to NPP launch or shortly thereafter.



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