Articles | Volume 7, issue 6
Research article
23 Jun 2014
Research article |  | 23 Jun 2014

Critical evaluation of cloud contamination in the MISR aerosol products using MODIS cloud mask products

Y. Shi, J. Zhang, J. S. Reid, B. Liu, and E. J. Hyer

Abstract. Using Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-based cloud screening methods, the impacts of cloud contamination on the Terra Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) aerosol optical depth (AOD) product are evaluated. Based on one year of collocated MISR and MODIS data, this study suggests that cloud contamination exists in both over-water and over-land MISR AOD data, with heavier cloud contamination occurring over the high latitude southern hemispheric oceans. On average globally, this study shows that thin cirrus cloud contamination introduces a possible ~ 0.01 high bias for the over-water MISR AOD retrievals. Over the mid- to high-latitude oceans and Southeast Asia, this number increases to 0.015–0.02. However, biases much larger than this mean value are found in individual retrievals, especially in retrievals that are near cloud edges. This study suggests that cloud-clearing methods using observations from MISR alone, which has only visible and near-infrared channels, may not be sufficient for all scenarios. Measurements from MODIS can be applied to assist cloud-clearing of the MISR aerosol retrievals. Cloud screening algorithms based on multi-sensor approaches are feasible and should be considered for current and future satellite aerosol studies.