Publication Abstracts

Naud et al. 2007

Naud, C.M., B. Baum, M. Pavolonis, A. Heidinger, R. Frey, and H. Zhang, 2007: Comparison of MISR and MODIS cloud-top heights in the presence of cloud overlap. Remote Sens. Environ., 107, 200-210, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2006.09.030.

Coincident MISR and MODIS cloud-top heights retrieved above two vertically pointing radar sites (ARM-SGP and UK-CFARR) are compared for 54 scenes between March 2000 and October 2003. The difference between MODIS and MISR cloud-top heights is assessed in situations of cloud overlap. MISR stereo cloud-top heights are known to be sensitive to low-level clouds of high contrast (between two camera views) even if high clouds with a wide range of optical thicknesses are also present in the scene. MODIS retrieved cloud-top heights do not experience this problem as long as the highest cloud layer has an optical thickness greater than approximately 1. Consequently, the difference in cloud-top heights between MODIS and MISR is often large and positive in multilayer situations. Small differences between MODIS and MISR cloud-top heights in multilayer situations can be found in situations where both instruments detect the highest cloud layer or on the contrary where they both fail to detect the highest cloud and detect some lower level cloud instead. The comparison with radar cloud-top heights on a 21 scene subset confirmed that large differences were associated with multilayer situations, but also showed that small differences can be found in overlap situations if the highest layer is of large contrast (both instruments detect the highest cloud layer) or of extremely small optical thickness (both instruments fail to detect the highest cloud layer). Using a cloud-typing technique applied to MODIS data that can also identify areas containing cloud overlap, small differences were found to occur for 60-70% of all overlap pixels examined here, highlighting the weakness of using the MODIS-MISR cloud-top height differences as a sole indicator for automated cloud overlap detection. While the accuracy of the MODIS cloud-top height algorithm decreases as the cirrus optical thickness becomes less than 1, the MISR approach may still be able to infer an accurate cloud-top height depending on the cloud contrast between two view angles.

However, synergy between the difference in MODIS-MISR cloud-top height analysis and the MODIS cloud-typing method could improve overlap detection for thin cirrus over low cloud situations and provide additional information on the cloud-top height of two distinct layers.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Naud, C. M. and Baum, B. and Pavolonis, M. and Heidinger, A. and Frey, R. and Zhang, H.},
  title={Comparison of MISR and MODIS cloud-top heights in the presence of cloud overlap},
  journal={Remote Sens. Environ.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - na05100g
AU  - Naud, C. M.
AU  - Baum, B.
AU  - Pavolonis, M.
AU  - Heidinger, A.
AU  - Frey, R.
AU  - Zhang, H.
PY  - 2007
TI  - Comparison of MISR and MODIS cloud-top heights in the presence of cloud overlap
JA  - Remote Sens. Environ.
VL  - 107
SP  - 200
EP  - 210
DO  - 10.1016/j.rse.2006.09.030
ER  -

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