Huo, J; Li, J; Duan, MZ; Lv, DR; Han, CZ; Bi, YH (2020). Measurement of Cloud Top Height: Comparison of MODIS and Ground-Based Millimeter Radar. REMOTE SENSING, 12(10), 1616.

Cloud top height (CTH) is an essential pareter for the general circulation model in understanding the impact of clouds on the Earth's radiation budget and global climate change. This paper compares the CTH products, derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), onboard the Aqua and Terra satellites with ground-based Ka band radar data in Beijing from 2014 to 2017. The aim was to investigate the data accuracy and the difference in CTH measurements between passive satellite data and active ground-based radar data. The results show that MODIS, on average, underestimates CTH relative to radar by -1.08 +/- 2.48 km, but with a median difference of -0.65 km and about 48% of differences are within 1 km. Statistically, MODIS CTHs which are greater than 6 km show lower discrepancy to radar CTH than those of MODIS CTHs less than 4 km. The CTH difference is independent of cloud fraction and cloud layer. It shows strong dependence on cloud depth, decreasing as cloud depth increases. There is a tendency for MODIS to underestimate high thin clouds but overestimate low thin clouds relative to radar. Total ozone, SO2, CO, NO2, aerosol PM10, total water vapor and temperature inversion show unobvious influences in the CTH discrepancy. It is shown that the MODIS CO2-slicing technique performs much better than IRW (infrared window) technique when cloud layer is higher than 2 km. The average difference calculated from all comparisons by CO2-slicing technique and IRW technique is 0.09 +/- 1.58 km, and -2.20 +/- 2.73 km, respectively.