Evaluation of Cloud and Aerosol Screening of Early Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Observations with Collocated MODIS Measurements

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Thomas Taylor1, Christopher O'Dell1, Heather Q Cronk1, Phil Partain1, Christian Frankenberg2, Annmarie Eldering3, Harold R Pollock3 and David Crisp3, (1)Colorado State University, Atmospheric Science, Fort Collins, CO, United States, (2)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
Effective cloud and aerosol screening is critically important to the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission, which can accurately determine column averaged dry air mole fraction of carbon dioxide (XCO2) only when the scenes are sufficiently clear of scattering material. Two primary algorithms are used to calculate the degree of contamination within OCO-2 soundings, both of which evaluate the light path modification induced by clouds and aerosols.

The first algorithm compares the measured spectra of the Oxygen-A band near 0.76 microns (mm), to synthetic spectra generated for clear scenes with only Rayleigh scattering. Large, spectrally dependent residuals indicate the presence of large path length modifications. The second cloud screening algorithm compares ratios of retrieved CO2 (and H2O) in the 1.6mm (weak CO2) and 2.0mm (strong CO2) spectral bands estimated with a radiative transfer code that neglects scattering. Soundings with significant cloud or aerosol scattering produce ratios that differ from unity because scattering modifies the optical path lengths differently in these two spectral regions.

These two cloud screening algorithms have been used successfully for the Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) mission. Here they are evaluated for the first time as applied to early OCO-2 data by comparing their results to cloud and aerosol parameters retrieved from collocated observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. In addition, we also evaluate the hypothesis that an individual OCO-2 sounding is twice as likely to be cloud-free as compared to a GOSAT TANSO-FTS sounding, due to a surface footprint that is more than 30 times smaller.