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A Study of Air Quality in the Southeastern Hampton–Norfolk–Virginia Beach Region with Airborne Lidar Measurements and MODIS Aerosol Optical Depth Retrievals

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  • 1 Center for Atmospheric Science, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia
  • | 2 Science Directorate, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
  • | 3 Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

A study of air quality was performed using a compact, aircraft aerosol lidar designed in the Science Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrievals. Five flights of lidar measurements conducted in the Hampton–Norfolk–Virginia Beach, Virginia, region showed complex regional aerosol distributions. Comparisons with MODIS AOD at 10 km × 10 km and 5 km × 5 km resolutions show good agreement, with correlation R2 values of 0.82 and 0.88, respectively. Linear regressions of particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and AOD within the ranges of 5–40 μg m−3 and 0.05–0.7, respectively, result in R2 values of ∼0.64 and ∼0.82 for MODIS and the Compact Aerosol Lidar, respectively. The linear regressions reflect approximately 51 μg m−3 to 1 AOD. These relationships are in agreement with previous findings for air pollution aerosols in the eastern United States and in northern Italy. However, large vertical variation is seen case by case, with planetary boundary layer heights ranging between 0.7 and 2 km and uncertainties ranging between 0.1 and 0.4 km. The results of the case studies suggest that AOD can be used as an indicator of surface measurements of PM2.5 but with larger uncertainties associated with small aerosol loading (AOD < 0.3).

Corresponding author address: Jasper Lewis, NASA Langley Research Center, MS 401A, Hampton, VA 23681-2199. Email: jasper.r.lewis@nasa.gov

Abstract

A study of air quality was performed using a compact, aircraft aerosol lidar designed in the Science Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrievals. Five flights of lidar measurements conducted in the Hampton–Norfolk–Virginia Beach, Virginia, region showed complex regional aerosol distributions. Comparisons with MODIS AOD at 10 km × 10 km and 5 km × 5 km resolutions show good agreement, with correlation R2 values of 0.82 and 0.88, respectively. Linear regressions of particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and AOD within the ranges of 5–40 μg m−3 and 0.05–0.7, respectively, result in R2 values of ∼0.64 and ∼0.82 for MODIS and the Compact Aerosol Lidar, respectively. The linear regressions reflect approximately 51 μg m−3 to 1 AOD. These relationships are in agreement with previous findings for air pollution aerosols in the eastern United States and in northern Italy. However, large vertical variation is seen case by case, with planetary boundary layer heights ranging between 0.7 and 2 km and uncertainties ranging between 0.1 and 0.4 km. The results of the case studies suggest that AOD can be used as an indicator of surface measurements of PM2.5 but with larger uncertainties associated with small aerosol loading (AOD < 0.3).

Corresponding author address: Jasper Lewis, NASA Langley Research Center, MS 401A, Hampton, VA 23681-2199. Email: jasper.r.lewis@nasa.gov

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