Dust aerosol impact on the retrieval of cloud top height from satellite observations of CALIPSO, CloudSat and MODIS Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 Elsevier Ltd Dust aerosol effect on the retrievals of dusty cloud top height (DCTH) are analyzed over Northwest China using cloud products from MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Aqua, Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO), and CloudSat for the Spring season of MarchMay over the years 20072011. An excellent agreement is found between CloudSat and CALIPSO derived DCTHs for all cloud types, suggesting that the effect of dust aerosols plays a small role in DCTHs determination for lidar and radar measurements. However, the presence of dust aerosols greatly affects the retrievals of DCTHs for MODIS compared with pure clouds and the active sensors derived results. The differences of DCTHs retrieving from CloudSat and MODIS range from 2.30 to 6.8km. Likewise, the differences of DCTHs retrieving from CALIPSO and MODIS range from 2.66 to 6.78km. In addition, the results show that the differences in DCTHs for active and passive sensors are dependent on cloud type. On the whole, dust aerosols have the largest effect on cloud top heights (CTH) retrieved of nimbostratus (Ns), followed by altocumulus (Ac) and altostratus (As), the last is cirrus (Ci) over Northwest China. Our results also indicate that the accuracy of MODIS-derived retrievals reduces accompanied with a decrease of height.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, W., Sheng, L., Dong, X. u., Qu, W., Sun, J., Jin, H., & Logan, T.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Wencai||Sheng, Lifang||Dong, Xu||Qu, Wenjun||Sun, Jilin||Jin, Hongchun||Logan, Timothy

publication date

  • January 2017