Parallax correction in collocating CloudSat and Moderate Resolution Imaging...

Wang, C., Z. J. Luo, and X. Huang (2011), Parallax correction in collocating CloudSat and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations: Method and application to convection study, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D17201, doi:10.1029/2011JD016097.

Parallax is associated with an apparent shift of the position of an object when viewed from different angles. For satellite observations, especially observations with clouds, it affects collocation of measurements from different platforms. In this study, we investigate how the parallax problem affects the collocation of CloudSat and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations of tropical convective clouds by examining the impact of parallax correction on statistics of convective cloud properties such as cloud top temperature (CTT) and buoyancy. Previous studies circumvented the parallax problem by imposing a “flat‐top” condition on the selection of convective clouds, but it inadvertently biases the statistics toward convections at mature or dissipating stages when convective plumes cease to grow but flatten out to form cirrus anvils. The main findings of this study are the following: (1) Parallax correction reduces CTT of convective clouds; the magnitude of the reduction increases with cloud top height (CTH). (2) Parallax correction also reduces the spread of CTT estimates, making it more closely clustered around the corresponding CTH. (3) The fraction of convection with positive buoyancy decreases after the parallax correction. All these changes that are due to parallax correction are most pronounced for convections above 10–12 km, highlighting the importance of parallax correction in satellite‐based study of deep convection. With parallax correction applied, we further examine the contrast in convective cloud buoyancy between land and ocean and day and night and the dependence on convective cloud size; results are consistent with our general understanding of tropical convection.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)
Radiation Science Program (RSP)