tobac 1.2: towards a flexible framework for tracking and analysis of clouds in...

Heikenfeld, M., P. J. Marinescu, M. Christensen, D. Watson-Parris, F. Senf, and S. C. van (2019), tobac 1.2: towards a flexible framework for tracking and analysis of clouds in diverse datasets, Geosci. Model. Dev., 12, 4551-4570, doi:10.5194/gmd-12-4551-2019.

We introduce tobac (Tracking and Object-Based Analysis of Clouds), a newly developed framework for tracking and analysing individual clouds in different types of datasets, such as cloud-resolving model simulations and geostationary satellite retrievals. The software has been designed to be used flexibly with any two- or three-dimensional timevarying input. The application of high-level data formats, such as Iris cubes or xarray arrays, for input and output allows for convenient use of metadata in the tracking analysis and visualisation. Comprehensive analysis routines are provided to derive properties like cloud lifetimes or statistics of cloud properties along with tools to visualise the results in a convenient way. The application of tobac is presented in two examples. We first track and analyse scattered deep convective cells based on maximum vertical velocity and the threedimensional condensate mixing ratio field in cloud-resolving model simulations. We also investigate the performance of the tracking algorithm for different choices of time resolution of the model output. In the second application, we show how the framework can be used to effectively combine information from two different types of datasets by simultaneously tracking convective clouds in model simulations and in geostationary satellite images based on outgoing longwave radiation. The tobac framework provides a flexible new way to include the evolution of the characteristics of individual clouds in a range of important analyses like model intercomparison studies or model assessment based on observational data.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.