The Cloud Depiction and Forecasting System, version 2 (CDFS-II), is a major Air Force program that provides real-time analyses and forecasts of global cloud cover and cloud microphysical properties for use by the Department of Defense and other governmental agencies to support their worldwide operations.
Since going operational in 2002, CDFS-II has continued a nearly 40-year unbroken record of global cloud analysis operations at the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA), located outside Omaha, Nebraska. Earlier cloud analysis models relied exclusively on cloud observations by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). CDFS-II introduced new data sources in the form of civilian and international polar- and geostationary-orbiting environmental satellites along with new science algorithms to exploit the multispectral data content available from those systems. Periodic updates to CDFS-II have expanded capabilities to assimilate data from new sensors such as NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the EUMETSAT Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI).
Corresponding science upgrades have significantly improved the accuracy of the cloud retrievals, particularly the three-dimensional distribution of cloud water, an area of specific concern to users interested in estimating atmospheric transmission in the presence of cloud. Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) is the developer of the original CDFS-II science algorithms and continues to be the primary developer of science upgrades and enhancements.
The U.S. Department of Energy sponsored an AER research effort to compare satellite retrievals of cirrus Ice Water Path (IWP) with ground-based and aircraft retrievals/observations of ice-water content and ice-water path. Under this program, three new retrieval methodologies (two ground-based, one space-based) were developed as well. New retrieval results were compared with existing ice cloud retrieval methods, especially for cirrus measurements collected during ARM intensive observation periods (IOPs).
This structured software development effort produced a second-generation interactive visual data analysis system in an extensible object-oriented architecture to support future capabilities and enhancements.