12 May 2021

12 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Enhanced MOPITT data coverage through cloud detection improvement

Heba S. Marey1, James R. Drummond1, Dylan B. A. Jones1, Helen Worden2, Merritt N. Deeter2, John Gille2, and Debbie Mao2 Heba S. Marey et al.
  • 1University of Toronto, Department of Physics, Atmospheric Science Group, Ontario, Canada
  • 2National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. The Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) satellite instrument has been measuring global tropospheric carbon monoxide (CO) since March 2000, providing the longest nearly continuous record of CO from space. During its long mission the data processing algorithms have been updated to improve the quality of CO retrievals and the sensitivity to the lower troposphere. Currently, MOPITT retrievals are only performed for clear-sky observations or over low clouds for ocean scenes. Compared to all observed radiances, successful retrieval rates are about 30 % and 40 % between 90° S–90° N and 60° S–60° N, respectively. Spatial seasonal variations show that while MOPITT data coverage in some places reaches 30 % in summer, this number can drop to less than 10 % in winter due to significantly increased cloud cover. Therefore, we investigate the current MOPITT cloud detection algorithm and consider approaches to increase the data coverage.

The MOPITT CO total column (TC) data were modified by turning off the cloud detection scheme to allow a CO retrieval result regardless of their cloud status. Analyses of the standard CO TC product (cloud filtered) and non-standard product (non-cloud masked) were conducted for selected days. Results showed some coherent structures that were observed frequently in the non-masked CO product that were not present in the standard product and could potentially be actual CO features. A corresponding analysis of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) cloud height and cloud mask products along with MOPITT cloud flag descriptors was conducted in order to understand the cloud conditions present for these apparently physical CO features. Results show that a significant number of low cloud CO retrievals were rejected in the standard product. Those missing areas match the coherent patterns that were detected in the non-masked CO product. Many times, these structures were also seen in the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) CO TC product indicating actual CO plumes.

Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) data on the Terra satellite were also employed for cloud height comparison with MODIS. Comparisons of MODIS and MISR cloud height data indicate remarkable agreement which is encouraging for the possibility of incorporating MODIS cloud height in the MOPITT cloud detection scheme. Statistics of the global assessment of the potential use of MODIS cloud height shows that MOPITT data increases significantly when cloud heights less than 2 km in height are incorporated in the retrievals. However quality indices should be defined and produced to ensure sufficient retrieval quality.

Heba S. Marey et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-112', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Jun 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-112', Anonymous Referee #2, 26 Jun 2021

Heba S. Marey et al.

Heba S. Marey et al.


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Short summary
In this study, an analysis has been performed to consider the issue of increasing the number of MOPITT observations since the current MOPITT data has 30 % successful retrievals. The results revealed that the current cloud detection scheme does not properly detect many low cloud cases over land which result in low observation. Hence, it is recommended to include observations found by MODIS to be cloudy with low clouds as this approach will potentially increase the number of good MOPITT retrievals.