shallowcumulus > Fair-Weather Shallow Cumulus IdentificationVAP Type(s) > Baseline

Periods of shallow cumulus clouds are identified automatically at ARM’s  Southern Great Plains atmospheric observatory to help determine times of interest for Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) ARM Symbiotic Simulation and Observation (LASSO) modeling efforts.

This value-added product (VAP) uses input from the Cloud Type (CLDTYPE) VAP (with cloud types determined from Active Remotely Sensed Cloud Locations [ARSCL] VAP cloud boundaries), the ceilometer, and the total sky imager (TSI). The data set uses an hourly temporal resolution and only classifies events as shallow cumulus when low clouds are detected for at least 1.5 hours and meet specified criteria for cloud occurrence and cloud fraction. In addition to time periods that contain just shallow cumulus, cases with overlying cirrus and a number of transitional cases (transitions to/from cirrus, stratus, and altocumulus/altostratus) are also identified.

The VAP produces both daily and monthly files. The monthly files identify days when one or more shallow cumulus and/or transitional events have been detected.

Primary Derived Measurements


  • Fixed
  • AMF1
  • AMF2
  • AMF3


Drueke S, D Kirshbaum, and P Kollias. 2021. "Environmental sensitivities of shallow-cumulus dilution – Part 2: Vertical wind profile." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 21(18), 10.5194/acp-21-14039-2021.


Lim K, L Riihimaki, Y Shi, D Flynn, J Kleiss, L Berg, W Gustafson, Y Zhang, and K Johnson. 2019. "Long-term retrievals of cloud type and fair-weather shallow cumulus events at the ARM SGP site." Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 36(10), 10.1175/JTECH-D-18-0215.1.
Research Highlight


Kassianov E, EA Riley, JM Kleiss, L Riihimaki, CN Long, V Morris, and LK Berg. 2018. Shallow cumulus macrophysical properties at midcontinental US site: integrated multiyear active and passive observations. In 23th Remote SEnsing of Clouds and the Atmosphere. SPIE, Ed. by A Comeron, et al, Bellingham, WA: SPIE.

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Damao Zhang
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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