CLAAS: the CM SAF cloud property data set using SEVIRI
An 8-year record of satellite-based cloud properties named CLAAS (CLoud property dAtAset using SEVIRI) is presented, which was derived within the EUMETSAT Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring. The data set is based on SEVIRI measurements of the Meteosat Second Generation satellites, of which the visible and near-infrared channels were intercalibrated with MODIS. Applying two state-of-the-art retrieval schemes ensures high accuracy in cloud detection, cloud vertical placement and microphysical cloud properties. These properties were further processed to provide daily to monthly averaged quantities, mean diurnal cycles and monthly histograms. In particular, the per-month histogram information enhances the insight in spatio-temporal variability of clouds and their properties. Due to the underlying intercalibrated measurement record, the stability of the derived cloud properties is ensured, which is exemplarily demonstrated for three selected cloud variables for the entire SEVIRI disc and a European subregion. All data products and processing levels are introduced and validation results indicated. The sampling uncertainty of the averaged products in CLAAS is minimized due to the high temporal resolution of SEVIRI. This is emphasized by studying the impact of reduced temporal sampling rates taken at typical overpass times of polar-orbiting instruments. In particular, cloud optical thickness and cloud water path are very sensitive to the sampling rate, which in our study amounted to systematic deviations of over 10% if only sampled once a day. The CLAAS data set facilitates many cloud related applications at small spatial scales of a few kilometres and short temporal scales of a~few hours. Beyond this, the spatiotemporal characteristics of clouds on diurnal to seasonal, but also on multi-annual scales, can be studied.