A Cloud-detecting Camera

Three students are working at the ASC R & D – departement developing a camera system designed to monitor cloud cover and cloud properties.

  • Photo: NAROM

The students are now at ASC and we’ve asked them to talk us through what they are planning on doing.

– This summer we are developing a camera system which is able to detect clouds and tell us how much of the sky is covered. We shall also look at the light polarisation from both clear skies and from different kinds of clouds, in order to establish a way to differentiate ice- and water clouds,  say students Elise Wright Knutsen, Even Marius Nordhagen and Marie Bøe Henriksen.

Detecting Clouds and Cloud Properties

– We will be using an all-sky camera previously used to detect northern lights, and then modify it so it can observe the sky and clouds in daylight. Then we will write an app to do the actual cloud detection. We will be using a optical filter to only look at red colors and infrared light. This will render the sky very dark, while the clouds will appear redish.

– An all-sky camera images the entire sky at once, producing a circular projection with the sky in the middle and the horizon at the edge. This image will be projected on a map so we can see where the clouds are right now. Taking into account the cloud altitude, one can also calculate the speed of the clouds by comparing multiple images.

Can the Camera Find the Suns Position?

– Another part of the project is to look at the polarisation of the light through thin cloud layers. An old hypothese says that the vikings, who usually navigated after the sun, used a special krystal to find the position of the sun whenever it was overcast. Our system is taking up this idea since it could be interesting for other projects.

Point of Contact

Dr Michael Gausa,
R & D, ASC

+47 76 14 44 00