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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6223-6240; doi:10.3390/rs5126223
Article

Satellite Regional Cloud Climatology over the Great Lakes

1,2,* , 3
, 1
 and 1,2
1 Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA 2 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA 3 Advanced Satellite Products Branch, NOAA, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 14 November 2013 / Accepted: 15 November 2013 / Published: 25 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere)
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Abstract

Thirty-one years of imager data from polar orbiting satellites are composited to produce a satellite climate data set of cloud amount for the Great Lakes region. A trend analysis indicates a slight decreasing trend in cloud cover over the region during this time period. The trend is significant and largest (~2% per decade) over the water bodies. A strong seasonal cycle of cloud cover is observed over both land and water surfaces. Winter cloud amounts are greater over the water bodies than land due to heat and moisture flux into the atmosphere. Late spring through early autumn cloud amounts are lower over the water bodies than land due to stabilization of the boundary layer by relatively cooler lake waters. The influence of the lakes on cloud cover also extends beyond their shores, affecting cloud cover and properties far down wind. Cloud amount composited by wind direction demonstrate that the increasing cloud amounts downwind of the lakes is greatest during autumn and winter. Cold air flows over relatively warm lakes in autumn and winter generate wind parallel convective cloud bands. The cloud properties of these wind parallel cloud bands over the lakes during winter are presented.
Keywords: cloud cover; satellite cloud observations; Great Lakes cloud cover; satellite cloud observations; Great Lakes
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ackerman, S.A.; Heidinger, A.; Foster, M.J.; Maddux, B. Satellite Regional Cloud Climatology over the Great Lakes. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 6223-6240.

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