Validation of MODIS cloud mask and multilayer flag using CloudSat-CALIPSO cloud...

Wang, T., E. J. Fetzer, S. Wong, B. Kahn, and Q. Yue (2016), Validation of MODIS cloud mask and multilayer flag using CloudSat-CALIPSO cloud profiles and a cross-reference of their cloud classifications, J. Geophys. Res., 121, doi:10.1002/2016JD025239.

Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Collection 6 cloud observations (MYD06) at 1 km are collocated with daytime CloudSat-Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) (C-C) cloud vertical structures (2B-CLDCLASS-LIDAR). For 2007–2010, over 267 million C-C cloud profiles are used to (1) validate MODIS cloud mask and cloud multilayer flag and (2) cross-reference between C-C cloud types and MODIS cloud regimes defined by joint histograms of cloud top pressure (CTP) and cloud optical depth (τ). Globally, of total observations, C-C reports 27.1% clear and 72.9% cloudy, whereas MODIS reports 30.0% confidently clear and 58.7% confidently cloudy, with the rest 7.1% as probably clear and 4.2% as probably cloudy. Agreement between MODIS and C-C is 77.8%, with 20.9% showing both clear and 56.9% showing both cloudy. The 9.1% of observations are clear in MODIS but cloudy in C-C, indicating clouds missed by MODIS; 1.8% of observations are cloudy in MODIS but clear in C-C, likely due to aerosol/dust or surface snow layers misidentified by MODIS. C-C reports 47.4/25.5% single-layer/multilayer clouds, while MODIS reports 26.7/14.0%. For C-C single-layer clouds, ~90% of tropical MODIS high (CTP < 440 hPa) and optically thin (τ < 3.6) clouds are identified as cirrus and ~60% of high and optically thick (τ > 23) clouds are recognized as deep convective in C-C. Approximately 70% of MODIS low-level (CTP > 680 hPa) clouds are classified as stratocumulus in C-C regardless of region and optical thickness. No systematic relationship exists between MODIS middle-level (680 < CTP < 440 hPa) clouds and C-C cloud types, largely due to different definitions adopted.

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