McAtee, BK, Maier, SW (2006). A comparison of algorithms for Near-Real Time water vapour retrieval from MODIS. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 27(23-24), 5145-5163.

When studying the Earth's surface from space it is important that the component of the signal Measured by the satellite-based sensor due to the atmosphere is accurately estimated and removed. Such atmospheric correction requires good knowledge of atmospheric parameters including precipitable water (PW), ozone concentration and aerosol optical depth. To make full use of the capabilities of satellite sensors such as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradionieter (MODIS) these parameters should be accurately estimated in Near-Real Time (NRT) with complete global coverage approximately every two days. NRT retrieval of the required ancillary information facilitates the atmospheric correction of such direct broadcast data from the MODIS instrument in the operational environment. In this paper three Near Infrared (NIR) algorithms for PW retrieval from MODIS are compared to determine which is most suitable for use in an operational MODIS-based process for the atmospheric correction of spectral reflectance data. Two of the algorithms estimate PW in NRT and gave RMS errors of approximately 0.48 g cm(-2) (23%) and 0.59 g cm(-2) (28%), respectively, when compared against radiosonde data and modelled PW fields over Western Australia. The third algorithm was the NIR PW product from MODIS (MOD05) archived by the Distributive Active Archive Centre (DAAC). For the same locations the MOD05 NIR PW dataset gave an RMS error of approximately 0.95g cm(-2) (44%). In each of the cases the best results were obtained after optimal cloudmasking of the NIR data. In this paper, the accuracy and suitability of the three algorithms for use in the operational atmospheric correction of MODIS data are evaluated and the importance of an accurate cloudmask for atmospheric correction in NRT is discussed.