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Nighttime Multilayered Cloud Detection Using MODIS and ARM Data

Baum, B. A., R. A. Frey, J. Mace, M. K. Harkey, and P. Yang (2003), Nighttime Multilayered Cloud Detection Using MODIS and ARM Data, J. Appl. Meteor., 42, 905-919.

This study reports on recent progress toward the discrimination between pixels containing multilayered clouds, specifically optically thin cirrus overlying lower-level water clouds, and those containing single-layered clouds in nighttime Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. Cloud heights are determined from analysis of the 15-μm CO 2 band data (i.e., the CO2-slicing method). Cloud phase is inferred from the MODIS operational bispectral technique using the 8.5- and 11-μm IR bands. Clear-sky pixels are identified from application of the MODIS operational cloud-clearing algorithm. The primary assumption invoked is that over a relatively small spatial area, it is likely that two cloud layers exist with some areas that overlap in height. The multilayered cloud pixels are identified through a process of elimination, where pixels from single-layered upper and lower cloud layers are eliminated from the data samples. For two case studies (22 April 2001 and 28 March 2001), ground-based lidar and radar observations are provided by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program’s Southern Great Plains (SGP) Clouds and Radiation Test Bed (CART) site in Oklahoma. The surface-based cloud observations provide independent information regarding the cloud layering and cloud height statistics in the time period surrounding the MODIS overpass.

Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)