16 June 2003 MODIS cloud mask: current situation and its improvements
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Abstract
The 36 channel Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) offers the opportunity for multispectral approaches to cloud detection. The MODIS cloud mask developed at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) uses several cloud detection tests to indicate a level of confidence that the MODIS is observing clear skies. The MODIS cloud mask algorithm identifies several conceptual domains according to surface type and solar illumination, including land, water, snow/ice, desert, and coast for both day and night. The updated cloud mask has many improvements, such as improved cloud/surface discrimination over desert regions, sun glint processing and thin cirrus detection. For non-snow-covered land areas, a clear sky confidence of 0.96 (probably clear) will be assigned if thresholds are met for three tests: 3.9-11 μm and 3.75-3.9 μm brightness temperature differences and a 1.24/0.55 μm reflectance ratio test. Values of these must be <15K, <11K and >2.0, respectively. A change has been made to the NIR (band 2) reflectance test for sun glint processing. The updated method is to calculate a cloud threshold as a linear function of sun-glint angle in three separate ranges. A new clear-sky restoral test was added where the ratio of band 17/18 reflectance is utilized to discriminate between low clouds and water surfaces. The thin cirrus thresholds using corrected band 26 (1.38 μm) reflectances were also modified.
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Hong Zhang, Hong Zhang, Richard A. Frey, Richard A. Frey, Steven A. Ackerman, Steven A. Ackerman, Liam Gumley, Liam Gumley, Kathy Strabala, Kathy Strabala, W. Paul Menzel, W. Paul Menzel, } "MODIS cloud mask: current situation and its improvements", Proc. SPIE 4895, Applications with Weather Satellites, (16 June 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.466824; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.466824
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