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Bryan A. Baum, W. Paul Menzel, Richard A. Frey, David C. Tobin, Robert E. Holz, Steve A. Ackerman, Andrew K. Heidinger, and Ping Yang


This paper summarizes the Collection-6 refinements in the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) operational cloud-top properties algorithm. The focus is on calibration improvements and on cloud macrophysical properties including cloud-top pressure–temperature–height and cloud thermodynamic phase. The cloud phase is based solely on infrared band measurements. In addition, new parameters will be provided in Collection 6, including cloud-top height and a flag for clouds near the tropopause. The cloud parameters are improved primarily through 1) improved knowledge of the spectral response functions for the MODIS 15-μm carbon dioxide bands gleaned from comparison of coincident MODIS and Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) radiance measurements and 2) continual comparison of global MODIS and Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) instantaneous cloud products throughout the course of algorithm refinement. Whereas the cloud-top macrophysical parameters were provided through Collection 5 solely at 5-km spatial resolution, these parameters will be available additionally at 1-km spatial resolution in Collection 6.

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