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New maps of land surface temperature and snow cover produced by NASA's Terra satellite show this year's winter was warmer than last year's, and the snow line stayed farther north than normal. The observations confirm earlier National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the United States was unusually warm and dry this past winter. (Click to read the NASA press release and to access higher-resolution images.) For the last two years, a new sensor aboard Terra has been collecting the most detailed global measurements ever made of our world's land surface temperatures and snow cover. The Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) is already giving scientists new insights into our changing planet. Average temperatures during December 2001 through February 2002 for the contiguous United States appear to have been unseasonably warm from the Rockies eastward. In the top image the coldest temperatures appear black, while dark green, blue, red, yellow, and white indicate progressively warmer temperatures. MODIS observes both land surface temperature and emissivity, which indicates how efficiently a surface absorbs and emits thermal radiation. Compared to the winter of 2000-01, temperatures throughout much of the U.S. were warmer in 2001-02. The bottom image depicts the differences on a scale from dark blue (colder this year than last) to red (warmer this year than last). A large region of warm temperatures dominated the northern Great Plains, while the area around the Great Salt Lake was a cold spot. Images courtesy Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC, based upon data courtesy Zhengming Wan, MODIS Land Science Team member at the University of California, Santa Barbara's Institute for Computational Earth System Science
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The EOS Terra mission will be launched in July 1999. This mission has great relevance to the atmospheric radiation community and global change issues. Terra instruments include Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES), Multi-Angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR), Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT). In addition to the fundamental radiance data sets, numerous global science data products will be generated, including various Earth radiation budget, cloud and aerosol parameters, as well as land surface, terrestrial ecology, ocean color, and atmospheric chemistry parameters. Significant investments have been made in on-board calibration to ensure the quality of the radiance observations. A key component of the Terra mission is the validation of the science data products. This is essential for a mission focused on global change issues and the underlying processes. The Terra algorithms have been subject to extensive pre-launch testing with field data whenever possible. Intensive efforts will be made to validate the Terra data products after launch. These include validation of instrument calibration (vicarious calibration) experiments, instrument and cross-platform comparisons, routine collection of high quality correlative data from ground-based networks, such as AERONET, and intensive sites, such as the SGP ARM site, as well as a variety field experiments, cruises, etc. Airborne simulator instruments have been developed for the field experiment and underflight activities including the MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS) AirMISR, MASTER (MODIS-ASTER), and MOPITT-A. All are integrated on the NASA ER-2 though low altitude platforms are more typically used for MASTER. MATR is an additional sensor used for MOPITT algorithm development and validation. The intensive validation activities planned for the first year of the Terra
The MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) sensors, aboard the Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua satellites, are showing excellent competence at measuring the global distribution and properties of aerosols. Terra and Aqua were launched on December 18, 1999 and May 4, 2002 respectively, with daytime equator crossing times of approximately 10:30 am and 1:30 pm respectively. Several aerosol parameters are retrieved at 10-km spatial resolution from MODIS daytime data over land and ocean surfaces. The parameters retrieved include: aerosol optical thickness (AOT) at 0.47, 0.55 and 0.66 micron wavelengths over land, and at 0.47, 0.55, 0.66, 0.87, 1.2, 1.6, and 2.1 microns over ocean; Angstrom exponent over land and ocean; and effective radii, and the proportion of AOT contributed by the small mode aerosols over ocean. Since the beginning of its operation, the quality of Terra-MODIS aerosol products (especially AOT) have been evaluated periodically by cross-correlation with equivalent data sets acquired by ground-based (and occasionally also airborne) sunphotometers, particularly those coordinated within the framework of the AErosol Robotic NETwork (AERONET). Terra-MODIS AOT data have been found to meet or exceed pre-launch accuracy expectations, and have been applied to various studies dealing with local, regional, and global aerosol monitoring. The results of these Terra-MODIS aerosol data validation efforts and studies have been reported in several scientific papers and conferences. Although Aqua-MODIS is still young, it is already yielding formidable aerosol data products, which are also subjected to careful periodic evaluation similar to that implemented for the Terra-MODIS products. This paper presents results of validation of Aqua-MODIS aerosol products with AERONET, as well as comparative evaluation against corresponding Terra-MODIS data. In addition, we show interesting independent and synergistic applications of MODIS aerosol data from
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) was developed by NASA and launched aboard the Terra spacecraft on December 18, 1999 and Aqua spacecraft on May 4, 2002. A comprehensive set of remote sensing algorithms for the retrieval of cloud physical and optical properties have enabled over twelve years of continuous observations of cloud properties from Terra and over nine years from Aqua. The archived products from these algorithms include 1 km pixel-level (Level-2) and global gridded Level-3 products. In addition to an extensive cloud mask, products include cloud-top properties (temperature, pressure, effective emissivity), cloud thermodynamic phase, cloud optical and microphysical parameters (optical thickness, effective particle radius, water path), as well as derived statistics. Results include the latitudinal distribution of cloud optical and radiative properties for both liquid water and ice clouds, as well as latitudinal distributions of cloud top pressure and cloud top temperature. MODIS finds the cloud fraction, as derived by the cloud mask, is nearly identical during the day and night, with only modest diurnal variation. Globally, the cloud fraction derived by the MODIS cloud mask is approx.67%, with somewhat more clouds over land during the afternoon and less clouds over ocean in the afternoon, with very little difference in global cloud cover between Terra and Aqua. Overall, cloud fraction over land is approx.55%, with a distinctive seasonal cycle, whereas the ocean cloudiness is much higher, around 72%, with much reduced seasonal variation. Cloud top pressure and temperature have distinct spatial and temporal patterns, and clearly reflect our understanding of the global cloud distribution. High clouds are especially prevalent over the northern hemisphere continents between 30 and 50 . Aqua and Terra have comparable zonal cloud top pressures, with Aqua having somewhat higher clouds (cloud top pressures lower by 100 hPa) over land due to
The Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA s Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite Terra provides global coverage of top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiances that have been successfully used for terrestrial and atmospheric research. The MODIS Terra ocean color products, however, have been compromised by an inadequate radiometric calibration at the short wavelengths. The Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) at NASA has derived radiometric corrections using ocean color products from the SeaWiFS sensor as truth fields. In the R2010.0 reprocessing, these corrections have been applied to the whole mission life span of 10 years. This paper presents the corrections to the radiometric gains and to the instrument polarization sensitivity, demonstrates the improvement to the Terra ocean color products, and discusses issues that need further investigation. Although the global averages of MODIS Terra ocean color products are now in excellent agreement with those of SeaWiFS and MODIS Aqua, and image quality has been significantly improved, the large corrections applied to the radiometric calibration and polarization sensitivity require additional caution when using the data.
Atmospheric scientists take to the skies this winter for the Wisconsin Snow and Cloud-Terra 2000 experiment, Feb. 25 through March 13. Scientists in WISC-T2000 will use instruments on board NASA's ER-2, a high-altitude research plane, to validate new science products from NASA's earth-observing satellite Terra, which began its five-year mission on Dec. 18, 1999. Contact Terri Gregory Public Information Coordinator Space Science and Engineering Center University of Wisconsin-Madison (608) 263-3373; fax (608) 262-5974 email@example.com Science Goals: WISC-T2000 is the third in a series of field experiments sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center. The center helped develop one of the five science instruments on Terra, the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). MODIS will make global measurements of clouds, oceans, land, and atmospheric properties in an effort to monitor and predict global climate change. Infrastructure: The ER-2 will be based at Madison's Truax Field and will fly over the upper Midwest and Oklahoma. ER-2 measurements will be coordinated with observations at the Department of Energy's Cloud and Radiation Testbed site in Oklahoma ( ), which will be engaged in a complementary cloud experiment. The center will work closely with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which will collect and distribute MODIS data and science products. Additional information on the WISC-T2000 field campaign is available at the project's Web site 350c69d7ab