• cloud base height;
  • remote sensing;
  • NOAA/AVHRR data

[1] A method is proposed for estimating base heights of convective clouds from satellite data. The approach takes advantage of the fact that convective water clouds appear as geometrically and optically thin clouds near an approximately constant condensation level in their earliest stage of growth and that deriving geometrical thicknesses for such thin clouds is less error prone. Striking is the fact that the method also provides the base height for clouds with large vertical extensions and high optical thicknesses. The method has been applied to NOAA/AVHRR data of 20 selected cloud scenes. For an evaluation satellite retrieved cloud base heights have been compared to surface ceilometer measurements at the same time. First results are encouraging. The standard deviation of the differences between satellite and ceilometer measurements is ±369m with no systematic bias.