This paper documents the development of the first integrated data set of global vertical profiles of clouds, aerosols, and
radiation using the combined NASA A-Train data from the Aqua Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES)
and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite
Observations (CALIPSO), and CloudSat. As part of this effort, cloud data from the CALIPSO lidar and the CloudSat
radar are merged with the integrated column cloud properties from the CERES-MODIS analyses. The active and
passive datasets are compared to determine commonalities and differences in order to facilitate the development of a
3-dimensional cloud and aerosol dataset that will then be integrated into the CERES broadband radiance footprint.
Preliminary results from the comparisons for April 2007 reveal that the CERES-MODIS global cloud amounts are, on
average, 0.14 less and 0.15 greater than those from CALIPSO and CloudSat, respectively. These new data will provide
unprecedented ability to test and improve global cloud and aerosol models, to investigate aerosol direct and indirect
radiative forcing, and to validate the accuracy of global aerosol, cloud, and radiation data sets especially in polar regions
and for multi-layered cloud conditions.
Four techniques for detecting multilayered clouds and retrieving the cloud properties using satellite data are explored to help address the need for better quantification of cloud vertical structure. A new technique was developed using multispectral imager data with secondary imager products (infrared brightness temperature differences, BTD). The other methods examined here use atmospheric sounding data (CO2-slicing, CO2), BTD, or microwave data. The CO2 and BTD methods are limited to optically thin cirrus over low clouds, while the MWR methods are limited to ocean areas only. This paper explores the use of the BTD and CO2 methods as applied to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer EOS (AMSR-E) data taken from the Aqua satellite over ocean surfaces. Cloud properties derived from MODIS data for the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) Project are used to classify cloud phase and optical properties. The preliminary results focus on a MODIS image taken off the Uruguayan coast. The combined MW visible infrared (MVI) method is assumed to be the reference for detecting multilayered ice-over-water clouds. The BTD and CO2 techniques accurately match the MVI classifications in only 51 and 41% of the cases, respectively. Much additional study is need to determine the uncertainties in the MVI method and to analyze many more overlapped cloud scenes.
The Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) project is using multispectral imagers, the Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS) on the tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Terra, operating since spring 2000, and Aqua, operating since summer 2002, to provide cloud and clear-sky properties at various wavelengths. This paper presents the preliminary results of an analysis of the CERES clear-sky reflectances to derive a set top-of-atmosphere clear sky albedo for 0.65, 0.86, 1.6, 2.13 μm, for all major surface types using the combined MODIS and VIRS datasets. The variability of snow albedo with surface type is examined using MODIS data. Snow albedo was found to depend on the vertical structure of the vegetation. At visible wavelengths, it is least for forested areas and greatest for smooth desert and tundra surfaces. At 1.6 and 2.1-μm, the snow albedos are relatively insensitive to the underlying surface because snow decreases the reflectance. Additional analyses using all of the MODIS results will provide albedo models that should be valuable for many remote sensing, simulation and radiation budget studies.
Surface emissivity is essential for many remote sensing applications including the retrieval of the surface skin temperature from satellite-based infrared measurements, determining thresholds for cloud detection and for estimating the emission of longwave radiation from the surface, an important component of the energy budget of the surface-atmosphere interface. In this paper, data from the Terra MODIS (MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) taken at 3.7, 8.5, 10.8, 12.0 micron are used to simultaneously derive the skin temperature and the surface emissivities at the same wavelengths. The methodology uses separate measurements of the clear-sky temperatures that are determined by the CERES (Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System) scene classification in each channel during the daytime and at night. The relationships between the various channels at night are used during the day when solar reflectance affects the 3.7 micron data. A set of simultaneous equations is then solved to derive the emissivities. Global results are derived from MODIS. Numerical weather analyses are used to provide soundings for correcting the observed radiances for atmospheric absorption. These results are verified and will be available for remote sensing applications.
The NASA CERES Project has developed a combined radiation and cloud property dataset using the CERES scanners and matched spectral data from high-resolution imagers, the Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS) on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Terra and Aqua. The diurnal cycle can be well-characterized over most of the globe using the combinations of TRMM, Aqua, and Terra data. The cloud properties are derived from the imagers using state-of-the-art methods and include cloud fraction, height, optical depth, phase, effective particle size, emissivity, and ice or liquid water path. These cloud products are convolved into the matching CERES fields of view to provide simultaneous cloud and radiation data at an unprecedented accuracy. Results are available for at least 3 years of VIRS data and 1 year of Terra MODIS data. The various cloud products are compared with similar quantities from climatological sources and instantaneous active remote sensors. The cloud amounts are very similar to those from surface observer climatologies and are 6-7% less than those from a satellite-based climatology. Optical depths are 2-3 times smaller than those from the satellite climatology, but are within 5% of those from the surface remote sensing. Cloud droplet sizes and liquid water paths are within 10% of the surface results on average for stratus clouds. The VIRS and MODIS retrievals are very consistent with differences that usually can be explained by sampling, calibration, or resolution differences. The results should be extremely valuable for model validation and improvement and for improving our understanding of the relationship between clouds and the radiation budget.