The ensemble cloud forecast available on Astrospheric combines cloud data from the CMCs RDPS forecast model and NOAAs experimental RAP forecast model. This type of forecast aims to show the possible range of future clouds in the atmosphere and are normally generated for severe weather such as hurricanes. Astrospheric will now produce the cloud ensemble 4 times a day for astronomers across North America. Over time, more cloud models will be added to this ensemble.
Note: This forecast contains variables from NOAAs experimental RAP forecast which is under active development and is therefore considered experimental. From time to time, Astrospheric will be unable to process or even access data necessary to complete the forecast.
The cloud ensemble is generated by taking the maximum % cloud forecasted from each contrbuting model and projecting it on the map. The CMC's RDPS model and NOAA's experimental RAP model are contributing to this ensemble, more will be added in the future. To make it easy to understand what model you're seeing clouds from, the layer is color coded. When the models agree the clouds will be white, when they disagree the clouds will be color coded based on the model. The RDPS model will appear yellow and the RAP model will appear blue.
In general the RAP cloud model will predict more cloud cover when compared to the RDPS and may be more representative of actual conditions, especially along the coasts.
Given how useful this data is for planning, the layer can be enabled on both the mini-map as well as the full map available in Astrospheric. At this time the ensemble data is available as a map layer and is not integrated into the 48 hour forecast.
Once the layer is enabled on the mini-map, tapping Play or tapping on any of the forecast hours will update the data layer.
The ensemble layer can also be enabled on Astrospheric's full map.
In the near future the ensemble data will become integrated into the 48 hour forecast. This will allow astronomers to see the combined cloud and transparency of the ensemble to have more decision making data.
After forecast integration is complete, more cloud models will be added to the ensemble to build a larger representation of what the future atmospheric conditions will offer.