Discrimination of biomass burning smoke and clouds in MAIAC algorithm
The Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) algorithm makes aerosol retrievals from MODIS data at 1 km resolution providing information about the fine scale aerosol variability. This information is required in different applications such as urban air quality analysis, aerosol source identification etc. The quality of high resolution aerosol data is directly linked to the quality of cloud mask, in particular detection of small (sub-pixel) and low clouds. This work continues research in this direction, describing a technique to detect small clouds and introducing the "smoke test" to discriminate the biomass burning smoke from the clouds. The smoke test relies on a relative increase of aerosol absorption at MODIS wavelength 0.412 μm as compared to 0.47–0.67 μm due to multiple scattering and enhanced absorption by organic carbon released during combustion. This general principle has been successfully used in the OMI detection of absorbing aerosols based on UV measurements. This paper provides the algorithm detail and illustrates its performance on two examples of wildfires in US Pacific North-West and in Georgia/Florida of 2007.