Assessment of MISR Cloud Motion Vectors (CMVs) relative to GOES and MODIS Atmospheric Motion Vectors (AMVs)

Kevin J. Mueller, Dong L. Wu, Ákos Horváth, Veljko M. Jovanovic, Jan Peter Muller, Larry Di Girolamo, Michael J. Garay, David J. Diner, Catherine M. Moroney, Steve Wanzong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cloud motion vector (CMV) winds retrieved from the Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on the polar-orbiting Terra satellite from 2003 to 2008 are compared with collocated atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) retrieved from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imagery over the tropics and midlatitudes and from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery near the poles. MISR imagery from multiple view angles is exploited to jointly retrieve stereoscopic cloud heights and motions, showing advantages over the AMV heights assigned by radiometric means, particularly at low heights (< 3 km) that account for over 95% of MISR CMV sampling. MISR-GOES wind differences exhibit a standard deviation ranging with increasing height from 3.3 to 4.5 m s-1 for a high-quality [quality indicator (QI) = 80] subset where height differences are < 1.5 km. Much of the observed difference can be attributed to the less accurately retrieved component of CMV motion along the direction of satellite motion. MISR CMV retrieval is subject to correlation between error in retrieval of this along-track component and of height. This manifests as along-track bias varying with height to magnitudes as large as 2.5 m s-1. The cross-track component of MISR CMVs shows small (< 0.5 m s-1) bias and standard deviation of differences (1.7 m s-1) relative to GOES AMVs. Larger differences relative to MODIS are attributed to the tracking of cloud features at heights lower than MODIS in multilayer cloud scenes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-572
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Altimetry
  • Cloud retrieval
  • Cloud tracking/cloud motion winds
  • Data assimilation
  • Numerical weather prediction/forecasting
  • Satellite observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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