Cloud identification and classification from high spectral resolution data in the far infrared and mid-infrared
A new cloud identification and classification algorithm named CIC is presented. CIC is a machine learning algorithm, based on principal component analysis, able to perform a cloud detection and scene classification using a univariate distribution of a similarity index that defines the level of closeness between the analysed spectra and the elements of each training dataset. CIC is tested on a widespread synthetic dataset of high spectral resolution radiances in the far- and mid-infrared part of the spectrum, simulating measurements from the Fast Track 9 mission FORUM (Far-Infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring), competing for the ESA Earth Explorer programme, which is currently (2018 and 2019) undergoing industrial and scientific Phase A studies. Simulated spectra are representatives of many diverse climatic areas, ranging from the tropical to polar regions. Application of the algorithm to the synthetic dataset provides high scores for clear or cloud identification, especially when optimisation processes are performed. One of the main results consists of pointing out the high information content of spectral radiance in the far-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum to identify cloudy scenes, specifically thin cirrus clouds. In particular, it is shown that hit scores for clear and cloudy spectra increase from about 70 % to 90 % when far-infrared channels are accounted for in the classification of the synthetic dataset for tropical regions.