Skip to Main Content
In this paper, we introduce a method to retrieve the optical thickness of tropical cirrus clouds using the isolated visible cirrus reflectance (without atmospheric and surface effects). The isolated cirrus reflectance is inferred from level 1b calibrated 0.66- and 1.375-μm Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. We created an optical properties database and optical thickness lookup library using previously calculated single-scattering data in conjunction with the discrete ordinates radiative transfer (DISORT) code. An algorithm was constructed based on this lookup library to infer the optical thickness of tropical cirrus clouds for each pixel in a MODIS image. We demonstrate the applicability of this algorithm using several independent MODIS images from the Terra satellite. The present method is complimentary to the MODIS operational cloud retrieval algorithm for the case of cirrus clouds.