A comparison of the Cloud Top Height Product (CTOP) and cloud-top heights derived from satellite, rawinsonde and radar
As part of the AWTT process, the CTOP was extensively compared to cloud-top estimates based on a variety of types of observations. This paper compares CTOP-diagnosed heights with several other types of inferred cloud-top heights in coastal and island regions, and over the continental U.S. (CONUS). The other inferred cloud-top values used in the intercomparison include cloud top values based on land- and ship-based rawinsondes, WSR-88D radar echo tops (ET), and the NESDIS cloud-top pressure product (NCTP). The comparisons are presented for two periods: 12 February-23 April and 15 August – 15 September 2004 for the Pacific, North Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico domains; and 15 August – 15 September 2004 for the CONUS. Results of the comparisons indicate the CTOP is generally consistent with the cloud-top heights determined from ground-based observations below 30,000 ft and with the NCTP. This intercomparison of cloud-top values is a companion to a study in which the CTOP was extensively compared to gridded NCTP values, where similar results were obtained.