An economical optical cloud/fog detector

Jacqueline H. Carrillo, Scott E. Emert, D. Eli Sherman, Pierre Herckes, Jeffrey L. Collett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A new, relatively low cost instrument has been developed to detect the presence of fog or cloud for fog/cloud sampling applications. The instrument uses attenuation of an 880 nm light emitting diode signal to detect cloud/fog drops in the optical path between a sending and receiving arm. Laboratory and field testing under a variety of conditions and fog types were carried out to determine the ability of the optical fog detector (OFD) to accurately detect cloud/fog presence as well as to provide some measure of liquid water content. Results indicated that the OFD provided a reliable estimate of fog presence as well as a reasonable estimate of liquid water content (LWC) under several different conditions. The OFD does appear to have an interference from rain, resulting in an overestimation of LWC during rainfall. This may occasionally give a false positive indication of fog presence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-267
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Automated sampling
  • Cloud detection
  • Fog detection
  • Liquid water content
  • Optical attenuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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