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Observed HIRS and MODIS High-Cloud Frequencies in the 2000s

Frey, R. A., and P. Menzel (2019), Observed HIRS and MODIS High-Cloud Frequencies in the 2000s, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 58, 2469-2478, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-19-0060.1.

This paper compares the cloud parameter data records derived from High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) measurements from the years 2003 through 2013. Cloud-top pressure (CTP) and effective emissivity («f; cloud emissivity multiplied by cloud fraction) are derived using the 15-mm spectral bands in the CO2 absorption band and implementing the CO2-slicing technique; the approach is robust for high semitransparent clouds but weak for low clouds with little thermal contrast from clear-sky radiances. The high-cloud (HiCld; with CTP less than 440 hPa) seasonal cycles of HIRS and MODIS observations are found to be in sync, but the HIRS frequency of detection is about 10% higher than that of MODIS (which is attributed to a lower threshold for cloud detection in the HIRS CO2 bands). Differences are largest during nighttime and at the beginning of the time series (2003–06). Both show Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH) seasonal HiClds are out of phase and both agree within 2% on NH–SH HiCld differences. During the summer, maximum HiCld frequency averages 5% more in the NH.

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