Calibration Changes to Terra MODIS Collection-5 Radiances for CERES Edition 4 Cloud Retrievals

IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens. 2018 May 18;56(10):6016-6032. doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2018.2829902.


Previous research has revealed inconsistencies between the Collection 5 (C5) calibrations of certain channels common to the Terra and Aqua MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS). To achieve consistency between the Terra and Aqua MODIS radiances used in the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) Edition 4 (Ed4) cloud property retrieval system, adjustments were developed and applied to the Terra C5 calibrations for channels 1-5, 7, 20, and 26. These calibration corrections were developed independently of those used for MODIS Collection 6 (C6) data, which became available after the CERES Ed4 processing had commenced. The comparisons demonstrate that the corrections applied to the Terra C5 data for CERES Edition 4 generally resulted in Terra-Aqua radiance consistency that is as good as or better than that of the C6 datasets. The C5 adjustments resulted in more consistent Aqua and Terra cloud property retrievals than seen in the previous CERES edition. Other calibration artifacts were found in one of the corrected channels and in some of the uncorrected thermal channels after Ed4 began. Where corrections were neither developed nor applied, some artifacts are likely to have been introduced into the Ed4 cloud property record. For example, the degradation in the Aqua MODIS 0.65-μm channel in both the C5 and C6 datasets affects trends in cloud optical depth retrievals. Thus, despite the much-improved consistency achieved for the Terra and Aqua datasets in Ed4, the CERES Ed4 cloud property datasets should be used cautiously for cloud trend studies because of those remaining calibration artifacts.

Keywords: Calibration; Cloudss and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES); Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS); climate; cloud.