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Comparing MODIS and AIRS Infrared-Based Cloud Retrievals

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
  • | 2 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  • | 3 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • | 4 Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, Madison, Wisconsin
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Abstract

Comparisons are described for infrared-derived cloud products retrieved from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) using measured spatial response functions obtained from prelaunch AIRS calibration. One full day (1 January 2005) of global collection-5 MODIS and version-5 AIRS retrievals of cloud-top temperature Tc, effective cloud fraction f, and derived effective brightness temperature Tb,e is investigated. Comparisons of Tb,e demonstrate that MODIS and AIRS are essentially radiatively consistent and that MODIS Tb,e is 0.62 K higher than AIRS Tb,e for all scenes, increasing to 1.43 K for cloud described by AIRS as single layer and decreasing to 0.50 K for two-layer clouds. Somewhat larger differences in Tc and f are observed between the two instruments. The magnitudes of differences depend partly on whether MODIS uses a CO2-slicing or 11-μm brightness temperature window retrieval method. Some cloud- and regime-type differences and similarities between AIRS and MODIS cloud products are traceable to the assumptions made about the number of cloud layers in AIRS and also to the MODIS retrieval method. This (partially) holistic comparison approach should be useful for ongoing algorithm refinements, rigorous assessments of climate applicability, and establishment of the capability of synergistic MODIS and AIRS retrievals for improved cloud quantities and also should be useful for future observations to be made by the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP).

Corresponding author address: Dr. Shaima L. Nasiri, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3150. E-mail: snasiri@tamu.edu

Abstract

Comparisons are described for infrared-derived cloud products retrieved from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) using measured spatial response functions obtained from prelaunch AIRS calibration. One full day (1 January 2005) of global collection-5 MODIS and version-5 AIRS retrievals of cloud-top temperature Tc, effective cloud fraction f, and derived effective brightness temperature Tb,e is investigated. Comparisons of Tb,e demonstrate that MODIS and AIRS are essentially radiatively consistent and that MODIS Tb,e is 0.62 K higher than AIRS Tb,e for all scenes, increasing to 1.43 K for cloud described by AIRS as single layer and decreasing to 0.50 K for two-layer clouds. Somewhat larger differences in Tc and f are observed between the two instruments. The magnitudes of differences depend partly on whether MODIS uses a CO2-slicing or 11-μm brightness temperature window retrieval method. Some cloud- and regime-type differences and similarities between AIRS and MODIS cloud products are traceable to the assumptions made about the number of cloud layers in AIRS and also to the MODIS retrieval method. This (partially) holistic comparison approach should be useful for ongoing algorithm refinements, rigorous assessments of climate applicability, and establishment of the capability of synergistic MODIS and AIRS retrievals for improved cloud quantities and also should be useful for future observations to be made by the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP).

Corresponding author address: Dr. Shaima L. Nasiri, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3150. E-mail: snasiri@tamu.edu
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