NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE Exploration of the MODIS Cloud-Top Property Products...

Li, Y., G. R. North, P. Yang, and B. A. Baum (2010), NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE Exploration of the MODIS Cloud-Top Property Products for the Investigation of Equatorial Wave Systems, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 49, 2050-2057, doi:10.1175/2010JAMC2425.1.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations provide an unprecedented opportunity for studying cloud macrophysical (cloud-top pressure, temperature, height, and phase), microphysical (effective particle size), and optical (optical thickness) properties. Given the length of time these MODIS products have been available, it is found that the cloud products can provide a wealth of information about equatorial wave systems. In this study, more than six years of the MODIS cloud-top properties inferred from the Aqua MODIS observations are used to investigate equatorial waves. It is shown that the high-resolution daily gridded cloud-top temperature product can be used to quantitatively study convective clouds. Various modes of convectively coupled equatorial waves including Kelvin, n = 1 equatorial Rossby, mixed Rossby– gravity, n = 0 eastward inertial-gravity waves, and the Madden–Julian oscillation are identified on the basis of space–time spectral analysis. The application of spectral analysis to cirrus cloud optical thickness, retrieved from MODIS cirrus reflectance, confirms the convective signals at high altitudes. A cluster of Kelvin pulses is found to propagate eastward around the globe at a phase speed approximately 15 m s-1. The Madden–Julian oscillation propagates at a slower speed and is most prominent over the Indian–Pacific Oceans region. The consistency between the present results with those of previous studies demonstrates that the MODIS cloudtop property products are valuable for studying phenomena associated with atmospheric dynamics.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)