22 Mar 2024
 | 22 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Infrared Radiometric Image Classification and Segmentation of Cloud Structure Using Deep-learning Framework for Ground-based Infrared Thermal Camera Observations

Kélian Sommer, Wassim Kabalan, and Romain Brunet

Abstract. Infrared thermal cameras offer reliable means of assessing atmospheric conditions by measuring the downward radiance from the sky, facilitating their usage in cloud monitoring endeavors. Precise identification and detection of clouds in images pose great challenges stemming from the indistinct boundaries inherent to cloud formations. Various methodologies for segmentation have been previously suggested. Most of them rely on color as the distinguishing criterion for cloud identification in the visible spectral domain and thus lack the ability to detect cloud structure on gray-scaled images with satisfying accuracy. In this work, we propose a new complete deep-learning framework to perform image classification and segmentation with Convolutional Neural Networks. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this technique by conducting a series of tests and validations on self-captured infrared sky images. Our findings reveal that the models can effectively differentiate between image types and accurately capture detailed cloud structure information at the pixel level, even when trained with a single binary ground-truth mask per input sample. The classifier model achieves an excellent accuracy of 99 % in image type distinction, while the segmentation model attains a mean pixel accuracy of 94 % on our dataset. We emphasize that our framework exhibits strong viability and can be used for infrared thermal ground-based cloud monitoring operations over extended durations. We expect to take advantage of this framework for astronomical applications by providing cloud cover selection criteria for ground-based photometric observations within the StarDICE experiment.

Kélian Sommer, Wassim Kabalan, and Romain Brunet

Status: open (until 08 May 2024)

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Kélian Sommer, Wassim Kabalan, and Romain Brunet
Kélian Sommer, Wassim Kabalan, and Romain Brunet


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Short summary
Our research introduces a novel deep-learning approach for classifying and segmenting ground-based infrared thermal images, a crucial step in cloud monitoring. Tests on self-captured data showcase its excellent accuracy in distinguishing image types and in structure segmentation. With potential applications in astronomical observations, our work pioneers a robust solution for ground-based sky quality assessment, promising advancements in the photometric observations experiments.