Water vapor and precipitable water content from MODIS
- Coverage, spatial and temporal resolution
- Data quality
- Contact person
- Data citation
RESTRICTED:This link to the data set is only available for a restricted user group. The data set is only accessible in CEN/MPI net or accessible from external nets with a customer account. Please contact ICDC if you would like to access this data from outside the network.
- View MODIS water vapor data at LAS LAS: AQUA | TERRA
- Access MODIS water vapor data via OPeNDAP: AQUA | TERRA
- Data access via file system:
MODIS stands for MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. This sensor, equipped with over 30 spectral channels from the visible into the infrared frequency range operates from aboard the EOS-TERRA and EOS-AQUA satellites since 2000 and 2002, respectively. Thanks to its high spectral resolution and the large number of different channels a large number of different atmospheric parameters can be retrieved. Here we refer to the columnar water vapor content and precipitable water content (PWC) data sets.
Similar to the data sets of the MODIS temperature profile data set the water vapor content and PWC data sets are derived by means of a statistical regression analysis. Vertical profiles of temperature, moisture and ozone measured globally by radiosondes are used to compute MODIS infrared band radiances using a radiative transfer / transmission model. A regression analysis between the computed radiances and the measured atmospheric profiles is carried out to derive the regression coefficients. These are subsequently applied to the actual MODIS radiance measurements to retrieve the profiles of atmospheric parameters - here the humidity which is subsequently vertically integrated to obtain estimates of the columnar water vapor content and PWC.
In addition, one can exploit that the degree with which near infrared (NIR) solar radiation reflected at the Earth's surface is absorbed in the atmosphere is a function of the atmospheric water vapor content. Therefore, radiances measured by the 5 MODIS NIR bands centered around the water vapor absorption line at 0.94 µm are used to derive the NIR columnar water vapor content with a look-up table procedure. Elements of the look-up table were pre-calculated using a radiative transfer / transmittance model and a spectroscopic data base.
More information about the data sets can be found on the MODIS-Atmosphere Group webpage and in the literature, in particular in the article by King et al., 2003 (see references).
This is part of the level-3 MOD08/MYD08 data set derived from level-2 MOD05/MYD05 data of the MODIS Collection 6.1 product family.
Last update of data set at ICDC: August 17, 2023
|Near Infrared (NIR) from MOD05_L2||Mean water vapor content (clearsky)||cm|
|Near Infrared (NIR) from MOD05_L2||Mean water vapor content standard deviation (clearsky)||cm|
|Near Infrared (NIR) from MOD05_L2||Mean water vapor content quality (clearsky)||-||
|Near Infrared (NIR) from MOD05_L2||Mean water vapor content (cloudy)||cm|
|Near Infrared (NIR) from MOD05_L2||Mean water vapor content standard deviation (cloudy)||cm|
|Near Infrared (NIR) from MOD05_L2||Mean water vapor content quality (cloudy)||-||
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, total column||Mean PWC||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, total column||Mean PWC standard deviation||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, total column||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, total column||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC standard deviation||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, total column||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC quality||-||
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, surface to 680 hPa||Mean PWC680||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, surface to 680 hPa||Mean PWC680 standard deviation||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, surface to 680 hPa||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC680||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, surface to 680 hPa||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC680 standard deviation||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, surface to 680 hPa||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC quality||-||
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, 440 hPa to 10 hPa||Mean PWC10||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, 440 hPa to 10 hPa||Mean PWC10 standard deviation||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, 440 hPa to 10 hPa||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC10||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, 440 hPa to 10 hPa||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC10 standard deviation||cm|
|Thermal Infrared from MOD07_2, 440 hPa to 10 hPa||Mean confidence flag weighted PWC quality||-||
Period and temporal resolution:
- 2000-02-24 to 2023-07-31 (MODIS EOS-TERRA)
- 2002-07-04 to 2023-07-31 (MODIS EOS-AQUA)
Coverage and spatial resolution:
- Spatial resolution: 1° x 1°, cartesian grid
- Geographic longitude: 180°W to 180°E
- Geographic latitude: 90°S to 90°N
- Dimension: 360 columns x 180 rows
- Altitude: following terrain
The offered water vapor content data contain as a measure of uncertainty on the one hand the standard deviation of all level-2 grid cells used for the computation of the Level-3 product.
On the other hand, for some of the products so-called "quality assessed" level-3 data sets are offered. These are the result of a weighted averaging of the level-2 data where the confidence flags of the level-2 products are used as weights (in some modified way).
The distribution of these confidence intervals (from the level-2 data) is illustrated in the level-3 data via quality flag maps which contain the global distribution of the numbers of questionable, good, very good, and total useful level-2 pixels per level-3 grid cell.
This data set is from Collection 6.1 of the MODIS product family. Hence a substantial number inconsistencies and potential retrieval problems, which have been identified in the past product families (4, 5), has been taken care of in this newest MODIS product family (6). The main improvement in this newest release 6.1 over release 6.0 is the mitigation of the impact of electronic cross-talk between adjacent atmospheric frequency bands.
We refer to the documents listed in the references.
- TERRA: August 7-18 2000; June 16 - July 2 2001; March 20-27 and April 15 2002; December 21-22 2008
- AQUA: July 30 - August 6 2002
MODIS - Atmosphere Level-3 Product Group
NASA / GSFC
email: steve.platnick (at) nasa.gov
MODIS - Water Vapor Retrieval Group
NASA / GSFC
email: gao (at) neptune.nrl.navy.mil
ICDC / CEN / University of Hamburg
email: stefan.kern (at) uni-hamburg.de
- MODIS ATBD for Level-3 Global Gridded Atmosphere Products (Collection 006, v4.3) (pdf, nicht barrierefrei)
- Hubanks, P, (2017): Collection 6.1 Change Document MODIS Atmosphere Level-3 Global Products, Adnet Systems, Lanham, MD, Version 1.0, August 23 2017, 20 pp
- Moeller, C., and R. Frey, Collection 6.1 Terra MODIS IR Bands calibration change supplement, Version 1.0, June 27, 2017. (pdf, nicht barrierefrei)
- Lyapustin, A., et al., (2014), Scientific impact of MODIS C5 calibration degradation and C6+ improvements, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 4353-4365. (pdf, nicht barrierefrei)
- King, M. D., et al., (2003), Cloud and aerosol properties, precipitable, water, and profiles of temperature and water vapor, Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens., 41(2), 442-458. (pdf, nicht barrierefrei)
- Moeller, C., et al., (2017) Improvements to Terra MODIS L1B, L2, and L3 science products through using crosstalk corrected L1B radiances, Proc. SPIE 10402, Earth Observing Systems XXII; doi:10.1117/12.2274340
- Seemann, S.W., et al. (2008), Development of a global infrared land surface emissivity database for clear sky atmospheric sounding retrievals from satellite-based radiance measurements. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, doi:10.1175/2007JAM1590.1, 47(1), 108-123.
- Borbas, E. E., et al., Collection 6.1 Change Document TERRA MOD07 Atmospheric Profiles Products
- MODIS-Atmosphere Group webpage, https://atmosphere-imager.gsfc.nasa.gov/
- MODIS Standard Collection 6.1 Update, https://atmosphere-imager.gsfc.nasa.gov/documentation/collection-61
Please cite the data as follows:
Platnick, S., et al., 2017. MODIS Atmosphere L3 Daily Product. NASA MODIS Adaptive Processing System, Goddard Space Flight Center, USA: http://dx.doi.org/10.5067/MODIS/MOD08_D3.061 [last access: August 14, 2023]
(if MODIS EOS-AQUA data are used accordingly: dx.doi.org/10.5067/MODIS/MYD08_D3.061).
and with the following acknowledgments:
Original MODIS collection 6.1 water vapor data provided in hdf format by https://ladsweb.modaps.eosdis.nasa.gov/ were downloaded in netCDF file format from the Integrated Climate Data Centre ICDC, CEN, University of Hamburg.
Please refer to the original data source for license information.