Cloud retrievals from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments aboard the satellites Terra and Aqua and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the Suomi-NPP satellite are evaluated using a combination of ground-based instruments providing vertical profiles of clouds. The ground-based measurements are obtained from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) programme mobile facility, which was deployed in Hyytiälä, Finland, between February and September 2014 for the Biogenic Aerosols-Effects on Clouds and Climate (BAECC) campaign. The satellite cloud parameters cloud top height (CTH) and liquid water path (LWP) are compared with ground-based CTH obtained from a cloud mask created using lidar and radar data and LWP acquired from a multi-channel microwave radiometer. Clouds from all altitudes in the atmosphere are investigated. The clouds are diagnosed as single or multiple layer using the ground-based cloud mask. For single-layer clouds, satellites overestimated CTH by 326 m (14 %) on average. When including multilayer clouds, satellites underestimated CTH by on average 169 m (5.8 %). MODIS collection 6 overestimated LWP by on average 13 g mg-2 (11 %). Interestingly, LWP for MODIS collection 5.1 is slightly overestimated by Aqua (4.56 %) but is underestimated by Terra (14.3 %). This underestimation may be attributed to a known issue with a drift in the reflectance bands of the MODIS instrument on Terra. This evaluation indicates that the satellite cloud parameters selected show reasonable agreement with their ground-based counterparts over Finland, with minimal influence from the large solar zenith angle experienced by the satellites in this high-latitude location.
Sporre, M. K., O’Connor, E. J., Häkansson, N., Thoss, A., Swietlicki, E., & Petäjä, T. (2016). Comparison of MODIS and VIIRS cloud properties with ARM ground-based observations over Finland. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 9(7), 3193–3203. https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-9-3193-2016