Simulated Weather Imagery (SWIM) | Purpose | Gallery | Cases

Visually and physically realistic sky (and land) simulations are being produced from real-time weather data. For example a 3-D cloud analysis (from LAPS), running over a Colorado 500 meter resolution domain uses satellite (including IR and 500m or 1km resolution visible imagery, updated every 5-15 minutes), METARs, radar, aircraft and model first guess information to produce 3-D fields of cloud fraction, cloud liquid, cloud ice, rain and snow. The LAPS system can be used to produce rapid update, high resolution analyses and forecasts of clouds, precipitation, and land surface information. The gridded fields are then converted using a ray-tracing technique into an all-sky image. Here are some links with more details in this seminar, this AMS presentation and this satellite conference poster. A recent ESRL news story on this work has been posted. Overall, visualizations are being tested with analyses of present weather from LAPS & GSI along with forecasts from LAPS, FIM, CSU/RAMS, and HRRR. Preliminary camera assimilation work is being done with the GSI analysis. Other variational assimilation (4DVAR, directly using radiance information) of cameras and satellites is being proposed for use in various systems.

The image above on the left is simulated from the LAPS cloud analysis and other data, while the image on the right is from an all-sky camera maintained by the Earth Systems Research Laboratory at the same time. In each fisheye lens view the zenith is in the center and north is up. The color balance of the simulated image is set to reproduce the "actual" colors/radiances when the display white point is set to closely match the sun. Thus to see a true apples to apples comparison (if for example you take your computer outside or right by a window), please set your display to a color temperature of 5780K (the sun's white color above the atmosphere). Some images are shown a bit dark to avoid saturating and losing details on the bright end. This can be compensated for by turning up your monitor brightness, thus showing a broader dynamic range.

Select Site — DSRC | BAO Tower | Longmont Astronomical Society | Pikes Peak | Mount Evans

Latest all-sky comparison image | mask (site is DSRC)

Latest comparison animations (site is DSRC): Polar | Cylindrical

In these 360 degree panoramic views, the top is a simulated LAPS image and bottom is a remapped camera image from an all-sky camera maintained by the Earth Systems Research Laboratory. South is at the center of each image and north is at the edges. The listed solar irradiance is calculated from the same radiance information used to construct the image.

Animation (site is DSRC) | (Moore Tornado)

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More visualizations are on my main home page | Contact: Steve Albers (