Frey, RA; Ackerman, SA; Holz, RE; Dutcher, S; Griffith, Z (2020). The Continuity MODIS-VIIRS Cloud Mask. REMOTE SENSING, 12(20), 3334.

This paper introduces the Continuity Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Cloud Mask (MVCM), a cloud detection algorithm designed to facilitate continuity in cloud detection between the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on the Aqua and Terra platforms and the series of VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instruments, beginning with the Soumi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) spacecraft. It is based on the MODIS cloud mask that has been operating since 2000 with the launch of the Terra spacecraft (MOD35) and continuing in 2002 with Aqua (MYD35). The MVCM makes use of fourteen spectral bands that are common to both MODIS and VIIRS so as to create consistent cloud detection between the two instruments and across the years 2000-2020 and beyond. Through comparison data sets, including collocated Aqua MODIS and Cloud-Aerosol LIdar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) from the A-Train, this study was designed to assign statistical consistency benchmarks between the MYD35 and MVCM cloud masks. It is shown that the MVCM produces consistent cloud detection results between Aqua MODIS, SNPP VIIRS, and NOAA-20 VIIRS and that the quality is comparable to the standard Aqua MODIS cloud mask. Globally, comparisons with collocated CALIOP lidar show combined clear and cloudy sky hit rates of 88.2%, 87.5%, 86.8%, and 86.8% for MYD35, MVCM Aqua MODIS, MVCM SNPP VIIRS, and MVCM NOAA-20 VIIRS, respectively, for June through until August, 2018. For the same months and in the same order for 60S-60N, hit rates are 90.7%, 90.5%, 90.1%, and 90.3%. From the time series constructed from gridded daily means of 60S-60N cloud fractions, we found that the mean day-to-day cloud fraction differences/standard deviations in percent to be 0.68/0.55, 0.94/0.64, -0.20/0.50, and 0.44/0.82 for MVCM Aqua MODIS-MVCM SNPP VIIRS day and night, and MVCM NOAA-20 VIIRS-MVCM SNPP VIIRS day and night, respectively. It is seen that the MODIS and VIIRS 1.38 mu m cirrus detection bands perform similarly but with MODIS detecting slightly more clouds in the middle to high levels of the troposphere and the VIIRS detecting more in the upper troposphere above 16 km. In the Arctic, MVCM Aqua MODIS and SNPP VIIRS reported cloud fraction differences of 0-3% during the mid-summer season and -3-4% during the mid-winter.