A scheme for the detection of fog and low stratus over land during daytime based on data of the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument is presented. The method is based on an initial threshold test procedure in the MODIS solar bands 1–7 (0.62–2.155 μm). Fog and low stratus detection generally relies on the definition of minimum and maximum fog and low stratus properties, which are converted to spectral thresholds by means of radiative transfer calculations (RTC). Extended sensitivity studies reveal that thresholds mainly depend on the solar zenith angle and, hence, illumination-dependent threshold functions are developed. Areas covered by snow, ice and mid-/high-level clouds as well as bright/hazy land surfaces are omitted from the initial classification result by means of a subsequent cloud-top height test based on MODIS IR band 31 (at 12 μm) and a NIR/VIS ratio test. The validation of the final fog and low stratus mask generally shows a satisfactory performance of the scheme. Validation problems occur due to the late overpass time of the TERRA platform and the time lag between SYNOP and satellite observations. Apparent misclassifications are mainly found at the edge of the fog layers, probably due to over-or underestimation of fog and low stratus cover in the transition zone from fog to haze.