Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Research article
19 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 19 Feb 2015

Retrieval of daytime total columnar water vapour from MODIS measurements over land surfaces

H. Diedrich, R. Preusker, R. Lindstrot, and J. Fischer

Abstract. A retrieval of total column water vapour (TCWV) from MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) measurements is presented. The algorithm is adapted from a retrieval for MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) from Lindstrot et al. (2012). It obtains the TCWV for cloud-free scenes above land at a spatial resolution of 1 km × 1 km and provides uncertainties on a pixel-by-pixel basis. The algorithm has been extended by introducing empirical correction coefficients for the transmittance calculation within the forward operator. With that, a wet bias of the MODIS algorithm against ARM microwave radiometer data has been eliminated. The validation against other ground-based measurements (GNSS water vapour stations, GUAN radiosondes, and AERONET sun photometers) on a global scale reveals a bias between −0.8 and −1.6 mm and root mean square deviations between 0.9 and 2 mm. This is an improvement in comparison to the operational TCWV Level 2 product (bias between −1.9 and −3.2 mm and root mean square deviations between 1.9 and 3.4 mm). The comparison to MERIS TCWV for an example overpass exposes a systematic dry bias.