Kyle E. Fitch

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Kevin S. Bartlett, PhD.


Evaluation of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Cloud Base Height (CBH) product was accomplished. CBH is an important factor for aviation, but a lack of coverage for ground-based retrieval is a significant limitation. Space-based retrieval is essential; therefore, the VIIRS CBH pixel-level retrieval algorithm was assessed for single-layer water clouds. Accurate (truth) measurements were needed not only for the CBH product, but also for VIIRS cloud optical thickness (COT), effective particle size (EPS), and cloud top height (CTH). Data from Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) sites were used, with VIIRS-ARM matchups created from June 2013 through October 2015 for four locations. After initial CBH results were large and highly variable, the VIIRS CTH product was replaced with the ARM (truth) CTH product. This substantially reduced variability and errors in the VIIRS CBH products, demonstrating that the CBH algorithm is fundamentally sound. Thus, future research is needed to reduce errors in the VIIRS CTH products in order to ensure the CBH products are suitable for aviation support.

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