The ISCCP_D2_NAT data set contains monthly, 280 KM equal-area grid data in native file format from various polar and geostationary satellites. Climatological Summary Product contents contain monthly average of D1 quantities including mean diurnal cycle, distribution and properties of total cloudiness and cloud types.
The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP), the first project ... of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), was established in 1982 (WMO-35 1982, Schiffer and Rossow 1983):
- To produce a global, reduced resolution, calibrated and normalized radiance data set containing basic information on the properties of the atmosphere from which cloud parameters can be derived.
- To stimulate and coordinate basic research on techniques for inferring the physical properties of clouds from the condensed radiance data set and to apply the resulting algorithms to derive and validate a global cloud climatology for improving the parameterization of clouds in climate models.
- To promote research using ISCCP data that contributes to improved understanding of the Earth's radiation budget and hydrological cycle.
Since 1983 an international group of institutions has collected and analyzed satellite radiance measurements from up to five geostationary and two polar orbiting satellites to infer the global distribution of cloud properties and their diurnal, seasonal and interannual variations. The primary focus of the first phase of the project (1983-1995) was the elucidation of the role of clouds in the radiation budget (top of the atmosphere and surface). In the second phase of the project (1995 onwards) the analysis also concerns improving understanding of clouds in the global hydrological cycle.
The ISCCP analysis combines satellite-measured radiances (Stage B3 data, Schiffer and Rossow 1985), Rossow et al. 1987) with the TOVS atmospheric temperature-humidity and ice/snow correlative data sets to obtain information about clouds and the surface. The analysis method first determines the presence of absence of clouds in each individual image pixel and retrieves the radiometric properties of the cloud for each cloudy pixel and of the surface for each clear pixel. The pixel analysis is performed separately for each satellite radiance data set and the results reported in the Stage DX data product, which has a nominal resolution of 30 km and 3 hours. The Stage D1 product is produced by summarizing the pixel-level results every 3 hours on an equal-area map with 280 km resolution and merging the results from separate satellites with the atmospheric and ice/snow data sets to produce global coverage at each time. The Stage D2 data product is produced by averaging the Stage D1 data over each month, first at each of the eight three hour time intervals and then over all time intervals.