National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Date of this Version



Remote Sensing Letters Vol. 1, No. 4, December 2010, 195–203


U.S. Government Work


The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) Vertical Feature Mask (VFM) product reports the scene classification globally. However, misclassifications have been observed because of labelling dense dust aerosols as clouds. Both CALIPSO and MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua spacecraft are operating in the A-train orbit with similar local equatorial crossing times. A novel approach to improve the scene classification by integrating the CALIPSO VFM product and measurements of MODIS thermal bands is proposed. According to the infrared (IR) split window technique, the brightness temperature difference (BTD) between MODIS 12 and 11 µm(BTD (12, 11µm)) is calculated for separating dust aerosol and cloud. Generally, the BTD (12, 11µm) value is positive for dust aerosol and negative for cloud. After spatial collocation, the comparison between measurements of the two sensors is performed. If a cloud layer in VFM product has positive MODIS BTD (12, 11µm) value in the same area, the misclassification is identified and thus corrected to improve the VFM product.