Development of an Algorithm Suite for MODIS and VIIRS Cloud Data Record Continuity

Monday, 15 December 2014
Steven E Platnick1, Robert Holz2, Andrew K Heidinger3, Steven A Ackerman4, Kerry Meyer5, Richard Frey6, Galina Wind7 and Nandana Amarasinghe7, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)UW SSEC, Madison, WI, United States, (3)NOAA/NESDIS, Madison, WI, United States, (4)University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, United States, (5)Universities Space Research Association Greenbelt, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (6)CIMSS/UW-Madison, Evansville, WI, United States, (7)Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, MD, United States
The launch of Suomi NPP in the fall of 2011 began the next generation of the U.S. operational polar orbiting environmental observations. Similar to MODIS, the VIIRS imager provides visible through IR observations at moderate spatial resolution with a 1330 LT equatorial crossing consistent with MODIS on the Aqua platform. However, unlike MODIS, VIIRS lacks key water vapor and CO2 absorbing channels used by the MODIS cloud algorithms for high cloud detection and cloud-top property retrievals (including emissivity), as well as multilayer cloud detection. In addition, there is a significant change in the spectral location of the 2.1 μm shortwave-infrared channel used by MODIS for cloud microphysical retrievals.

The climate science community will face an interruption in the continuity of key global cloud data sets once the NASA EOS Terra and Aqua sensors cease operation. Given the instrument differences between MODIS EOS and VIIRS S-NPP/JPSS, we discuss methods for merging the 14+ year MODIS observational record with VIIRS/CrIS observations in order to generate cloud climate data record continuity across the observing systems.

The main approach used by our team was to develop a cloud retrieval algorithm suite that is applied only to the common MODIS and VIIRS spectral channels. The suite uses heritage algorithms that produce the existing MODIS cloud mask (MOD35), MODIS cloud optical and microphysical properties (MOD06), and NOAA AWG/CLAVR-x cloud-top property products. Global monthly results from this hybrid algorithm suite (referred to as MODAWG) will be shown. Collocated CALIPSO comparisons will be shown that can independently evaluate inter-instrument product consistency for a subset of the MODAWG datasets.