The use of two dimensional Fast Fourier Transforms (FFTs) subjected to pattern recognition technology for the identification and classification of low altitude stratus cloud structure from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imagery was examined. The development of a scene independent pattern recognition methodology, unconstrained by conventional cloud morphological classifications was emphasized. A technique for extracting cloud shape, direction, and size attributes from GOES visual imagery was developed. These attributes were combined with two statistical attributes (cloud mean brightness, cloud standard deviation), and interrogated using unsupervised clustering amd maximum likelihood classification techniques. Results indicate that: (1) the key cloud discrimination attributes are mean brightness, direction, shape, and minimum size; (2) cloud structure can be differentiated at given pixel scales; (3) cloud type may be identifiable at coarser scales; (4) there are positive indications of scene independence which would permit development of a cloud signature bank; (5) edge enhancement of GOES imagery does not appreciably improve cloud classification over the use of raw data; and (6) the GOES imagery must be apodized before generation of FFTs.
METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY