Li, J, Menzel, WP, Zhang, WJ, Sun, FY, Schmit, TJ, Gurka, JJ, Weisz, E (2004). Synergistic use of MODIS and AIRS in a variational retrieval of cloud parameters. JOURNAL OF APPLIED METEOROLOGY, 43(11), 1619-1634.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder ( AIRS) measurements from the Earth Observing System's (EOS's) Aqua satellite enable global monitoring of the distribution of clouds. MODIS is able to provide a cloud mask, surface and cloud types, cloud phase, cloud-top pressure (CTP), effective cloud amount (ECA), cloud particle size, and cloud optical thickness at high spatial resolution ( 1 - 5 km). The combined MODIS - AIRS system offers the opportunity for improved cloud products, better than from either system alone; this improvement is demonstrated in this paper with both simulated and real radiances. A one-dimensional variational (1DVAR) methodology is used to retrieve the CTP and ECA from AIRS longwave ( 650 - 790 cm(-1) or 15.38 - 12.65 mum) cloudy radiance measurements ( hereinafter referred to as MODIS - AIRS 1DVAR). The MODIS - AIRS 1DVAR cloud properties show significant improvement over the MODIS-alone cloud properties and slight improvement over AIRS-alone cloud properties in a simulation study, while MODIS - AIRS 1DVAR is much more computationally efficient than the AIRS-alone 1DVAR; comparisons with radiosonde observations show that CTPs improve by 10 - 40 hPa for MODIS - AIRS CTPs over those from MODIS alone. The 1DVAR approach is applied to process the AIRS longwave cloudy radiance measurements; results are compared with MODIS and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite sounder cloud products. Data from ground-based instrumentation at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program Cloud and Radiation Test Bed in Oklahoma are used for validation; results show that MODIS - AIRS improves the MODIS CTP, especially in low-level clouds. The operational use of a high-spatial-resolution imager, along with information from a high-spectral-resolution sounder will be possible with instruments planned for the next-generation geostationary operational instruments.