Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

AVHRR Cloud Properties - NASA CDR

Configuration Item ID: 01B-30b

The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Cloud Properties - NASA Climate Data Record (CDR) identifies global cloud cover and cloud macro and microphysical properties throughout the entire AVHRR Cloud Properties data record, which extends from 1978–2016 and provides data at the highest spatial resolution of any existing cloud climatology. It is generated using the adapted AVHRR Cloud Properties versions of algorithms that were initially developed to generate visualizations for the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite instruments within NASA Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) program.

This CDR also addresses AVHRR sensor noise and errant navigation and AVHRR shortwave channel calibration references to Aqua MODIS. Daytime and nighttime cloud properties offer advantages over many other climatologies that are daytime-only. Nearly all of the CDR products have been validated using NASA A-Train observations, a technique that many other global climatologies do not employ. This data can be used to track temporal trends in global cloud cover and properties, which can help decision makers in the energy sector determine the viability of wind, solar, and other alternative energy solutions.

To help the project receive continued support, updates, and improvement, tell us how you use AVHRR Cloud Properties - NASA CDR data by completing our optional User Registration Form.

Optional User Registration

Principal Investigator

Patrick Minnis, NASA


Cite dataset when used as a source. See the dataset's landing page for citation details at doi:10.7289/V5HT2M8T.

Data Access

CDR Variables

  • Cloud & clear sky pixel detection (count)
  • Cloud top thermodynamic phase (count)
  • Cloud optical depth (count)
  • Cloud particle effective radius (micrometers)
  • Air pressure at effective cloud top (hPa)
  • Air temperature at effective cloud top (K)
  • Height at effective cloud top (km)

Other Variables

  • Air pressure at cloud top (hPa)
  • Air temperature at cloud top (K)
  • Height at cloud top (km)
  • Height at cloud base (km)
  • Air pressure at cloud base (hPa)
  • Overshooting cloud top detection mask (count)
  • Land & sea surface temperature retrieval (K)
  • Shortwave broadband albedo (unitless)
  • Longwave broadband flux (W/m2)
  • Snow & ice cover flag (count)
  • Land & sea surface temperature retrieval
  • Quality flag (count)
  • Clear sky pixel classification (count)
  • Cloudy pixel classification (count)