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Water Vapor

Water Vapor Products

Water Vapor

The Water Vapor Product monitors atmospheric water vapor and precipitable water. The ESDT names are MOD05_L2 (Terra) and MYD05_L2 (Aqua). 

Steve Platnick

MODIS Atmosphere Team Lead


Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document

Offered below is the Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document for the MODIS Water Vapor (MOD05_L2) Product.

  • Gao & Kaufman, 1998:
    The MODIS Near-IR Water Vapor Algorithm.
    Products: MOD05_L2, MOD08_D3, MOD08_E3, MOD08_M3.   ATBD Reference Number: ATBD-MOD-03.
    View PDF

QA Plan

DOI Reference

MODIS Atmosphere L2 Water Vapor Product

Data Object Identifier System

Dataset Short Name:
MOD05_L2 (Terra Platform)
MYD05_L2 (Aqua Platform)

Dataset Long Name:
MODIS/Terra Level-2 (L2) Water Vapor Product
MODIS/Aqua Level-2 (L2) Water Vapor Product
(Swath, 1km and 5km Resolution)
(5 minute time-period HDF files)

Grids & Mapping

Product Grid

The MODIS Water Vapor (MOD05_L2) product contains data that has a spatial resolution (pixel size) of 1 x 1 kilometers (at nadir) or 5 x 5 kilometers (at nadir). Each MOD05_L2 product file covers a five-minute time interval (based on the start time of each MODIS Level-1B granule), which means the MOD05_L2 output grid is 1350 1-km pixels in width and 2030 1-km pixels in length (or 270 by 406 5-km pixels) for nine consecutive granules. Every tenth granule has an output grid size of 1350 by 2040 pixels (or 270 by 408).

Algorithm Overview

NIR Water Vapor Algorithm

MODIS is an instrument on the EOS polar orbiting satellite platforms designed to measure biological and physical processes on a global scale every 1 to 2 days. It is a 36-channel scanning radiometer covering the spectral region 0.4 - 15 µm . Five near-IR MODIS channels are useful for remote sensing of water vapor. The positions and widths of these channels are given in Table 1.