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GOES-derived fog and low cloud indices for coastal north and central California ecological analyses

January 1, 2016

Fog and low cloud cover (FLCC) changes the water, energy, and nutrient flux of coastal ecosystems. Easy-to-use FLCC data are needed to quantify the impacts of FLC on ecosystem dynamics during hot, dry Mediterranean climate summers. FLCC indices were generated from 26,000 hourly night and day FLCC maps derived from Geostationary Environmental Operational Satellite (GOES) data for June, July, August, and September, 1999- 2009 for coastal California, latitude 34.50°N, south of Monterey Bay, to latitude 41.95°N, north of Crescent City. Monthly FLCC average hours per day (h/d) range from < 2 to 18. Average FLCC over the ocean increases from north (9 h/d) to south (14 h/d) whereas FLCC over land is reversed. Over land, FLCC is highest where land juts into the prevailing NW winds and is lowest in the lee of major capes. FLCC advects furthest inland through low-lying NW ocean-facing valleys. At night hours of FLCC is higher more frequently on land than over the ocean. Interannual FLCC coefficient of variation shows long term geographic stability strongly associated with landform position. Contours delineating homogeneous zones of FLCC, derived from average decadal h/d FLCC, provide data to refine the commonly used term ‘fog belt.’ FLCC indices are available for download from the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative Climate Commons website. FLCC indices can be used to improve analyses of biogeographic and bioclimatic species distribution models, meteorological mechanisms driving FLCC patterns, ecohydrological investigations of evapotranspiration, solar energy feasibility studies, agricultural irrigation demand and viticultural ripening models.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title GOES-derived fog and low cloud indices for coastal north and central California ecological analyses
DOI 10.1002/2015EA000119
Authors Alicia Torregrosa, Cindy Combs, Jeff Peters
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth and Space Science
Series Number
Index ID 70160156
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center