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Improvement in cloud retrievals from VIIRS through the use of infrared...

Li, Y., B. A. Baum, Andrew Heidinger, P. Menzel, and E. Weisz (2020), Improvement in cloud retrievals from VIIRS through the use of infrared absorption channels constructed from VIIRS+CrIS data fusion, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 13, 4035-4049, doi:10.5194/amt-13-4035-2020.

Retrieval of semitransparent ice cloud properties from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellite sensor on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and NOAA-20 platforms is challenging due to the absence of infrared (IR) water vapor and CO2 absorption channels. However, on these platforms, there is a companion sensor called the Crosstrack Infrared Sounder (CrIS) that provides these spectral measurements but at a lower spatial resolution (∼ 15 km at nadir). To mitigate the lack of VIIRS spectral measurements in these IR absorption channels, recent studies suggest an approach to supplement VIIRS measurements by fusion of the imager and sounder data. In particular, Weisz et al. (2017) demonstrate a method to construct IR water vapor and CO2 absorption channel radiances for VIIRS at 750 m spatial resolution. Based on these constructed channels for both S-NPP and NOAA-20, this study evaluates three cloud properties – cloud mask, cloud thermodynamic phase, and cloud top height – through comparison to the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation/Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIPSO/CALIOP) V4-20 cloud layer products and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Collection 6.1 cloud top products. Each of these cloud properties shows improvement with the use of these constructed channel radiances. The major improvement for the cloud mask is found over polar regions, where the correct cloud detection percentage increases due to a decrease in missed clouds and/or false detection. For cloud thermodynamic phase, the ice cloud fraction increases over nonpolar regions and the combined liquid water and ice cloud discrimination improves in comparison with CALIPSO. The retrieved cloud top height for semitransparent ice clouds increases over non-polar regions and tends to be closer to the true CALIPSO/CALIOP cloud top height. Moreover, the uncertainty of cloud top height retrievals decreases globally for these clouds.

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