The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and MODerate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the EOS Aqua spacecraft measure the upwelling infrared radiance used for numerous remote sensing and climate related applications. AIRS provides high spectral resolution infrared radiances while MODIS provides collocated high spatial resolution radiances at sixteen broad infrared bands. An optimal algorithm for cloud-clearing has been developed for AIRS cloudy soundings at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where the spatially and spectrally collocated AIRS and MODIS data has been used to verify this algorithm. A global analysis and characterization of the AIRS cloud-clearing using the bias and the standard deviation between AIRS cloud-cleared brightness temperature and the nearby clear brightness temperature are studied.
The operational Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) products for cloud properties such as cloud-top pressure (CTP), effective cloud amount (ECA), cloud particle size (CPS), cloud optical thickness (COT), and cloud phase (CP) have been available for users globally. An approach to retrieve COT is investigated using MODIS infrared (IR) window spectral bands (8.5 mm, 11mm, and 12 mm). The COT retrieval from MODIS IR bands has the potential to provide microphysical properties with high spatial resolution during night. The results are compared with those from operational MODIS products derived from the visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) bands during day.
Sensitivity of COT to MODIS spectral brightness temperature (BT) and BT difference (BTD) values is studied. A look-up table is created from the cloudy radiative transfer model accounting for the cloud absorption and scattering for the cloud microphysical property retrieval. The potential applications and limitations are also discussed. This algorithm can be applied to the future imager systems such as Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) and Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R.
Significant improvements have been made to the MODIS cloud mask (MOD35) in preparation for Collection 5 reprocessing and forward stream data production. Most of the modifications are realized for nighttime scenes where polar and oceanic regions will see marked improvement. For polar night scenes, two new spectral tests using the 7.2 μm water vapor absorption band have been added as well as updates to the 3.9-12 μm and 11-12 μm cloud tests. More non-MODIS ancillary data has been added for nighttime processing. Land and sea surface temperature maps provide crucial information for middle and low-level cloud detection and lessen dependence on ocean variability tests. Sun-glint areas are also improved by use of sea surface temperatures to aid in resolving observations with conflicting cloud vs. clear-sky signals, where visible and NIR reflectances are high, but infrared brightness temperatures are relatively warm. Details and examples of new and modified cloud tests are shown and various methods employed to evaluate the new cloud mask results. Day vs. night sea surface temperatures derived from MODIS radiances and using only the MODIS cloud mask for cloud screening are contrasted. Frequencies of cloud from sun-glint regions will be shown as a function of sun-glint angle to gain a sense of cloud mask quality in those regions.
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.