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AIRS Subpixel Cloud Characterization Using MODIS Cloud Products

Li, J., P. Menzel, F. Sun, T. J. Schmit, and J. Gurka (2004), AIRS Subpixel Cloud Characterization Using MODIS Cloud Products, J. Appl. Meteor., 43, 1083-1094.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) measurements from the Earth Observing System’s (EOS’s) Aqua satellite enable improved global monitoring of the distribution of clouds. MODIS is able to provide, at high spatial resolution (ϳ1–5 km), a cloud mask, surface and cloud types, cloud phase, cloud-top pressure (CTP), effective cloud amount (ECA), cloud particle size (CPS), and cloud optical thickness (COT). AIRS is able to provide CTP, ECA, CPS, and COT at coarser spatial resolution (ϳ13.5 km at nadir) but with much better accuracy using its high-spectral-resolution measurements. The combined MODIS–AIRS system offers the opportunity for improved cloud products over those possible from either system alone. The key steps for synergistic use of imager and sounder radiance measurements are 1) collocation in space and time and 2) imager cloud amount, type, and phase determination within the sounder pixel. The MODIS and AIRS measurements from the EOS Aqua satellite provide the opportunity to study the synergistic use of advanced imager and sounder measurements. As the first step, the MODIS classification procedure is applied to identify various surface and cloud types within an AIRS footprint. Cloud-layer information (lower, midlevel, or high clouds) and phase information (water, ice, or mixed-phase clouds) within the AIRS footprint are sorted and characterized using MODIS 1-km-spatial-resolution data. The combined MODIS and AIRS data for various scenes are analyzed to study the utility of the synergistic use of high-spatial-resolution imager products and high-spectral-resolution sounder radiance measurements. There is relevance to the optimal use of data from the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) and Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES) systems, which are to fly on the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R.

Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)