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Alexei Lyapustin, D. L. Williams, B. Markham, J. Irons, B. Holben, and Y. Wang

Abstract

Because the land surface reflectance varies spatially, the atmospheric radiative transfer over land in clear-sky conditions is essentially three-dimensional. This is manifested through horizontal radiative fluxes that blur satellite images. It is important that the atmospheric blurring systematically increases the apparent brightness of the dark pixels. As a consequence, there are systematic biases in the satellite products of aerosol optical thickness and surface albedo over dark targets based on 1D theory, which may have a negative impact on climate research. Below, a new dark target method is presented for unbiased simultaneous retrieval of the aerosol model and optical thickness over land from Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) data, based on 3D radiative transfer theory. The method automatically selects an aerosol model from a large set of candidate models using a statistical approach of the probability distribution function. The dark target method of aerosol retrieval in the blue and red bands relies on prediction of the surface reflectance in these bands from the shortwave infrared region (2.1–2.2 μm) based on the linear regression. In the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) algorithm, the regression coefficients are constants, whereas different studies indicate that they have seasonal and geographic variations. The work here shows that the accuracy of aerosol retrieval over land can be significantly increased based on ancillary information on the regional and seasonal distribution of the regression coefficients. This information, which is called surface climatology, can be derived globally around Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sites, using AERONET aerosol and water vapor information for accurate atmospheric correction. This paper describes the developed method in application to Landsat data and its initial validation with AERONET measurements for a set of ETM+ images of the Washington–Baltimore area, and studies biases of 1D retrievals.

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J. Redemann, B. Schmid, J. A. Eilers, R. Kahn, R. C. Levy, P. B. Russell, J. M. Livingston, P. V. Hobbs, W. L. Smith Jr., and B. N. Holben

Abstract

As part of the Chesapeake Lighthouse and Aircraft Measurements for Satellites (CLAMS) experiment, 10 July–2 August 2001, off the central East Coast of the United States, the 14-channel NASA Ames Airborne Tracking Sunphotometer (AATS-14) was operated aboard the University of Washington’s Convair 580 (CV-580) research aircraft during 10 flights (∼45 flight hours). One of the main research goals in CLAMS was the validation of satellite-based retrievals of aerosol properties. The goal of this study in particular was to perform true over-ocean validations (rather than over-ocean validation with ground-based, coastal sites) at finer spatial scales and extending to longer wavelengths than those considered in previous studies. Comparisons of aerosol optical depth (AOD) between the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) Cimel instrument at the Chesapeake Lighthouse and airborne measurements by AATS-14 in its vicinity showed good agreement with the largest r-square correlation coefficients at wavelengths of 0.38 and 0.5 μm (>0.99). Coordinated low-level flight tracks of the CV-580 during Terra overpass times permitted validation of over-ocean Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) level 2 (MOD04_L2) multiwavelength AOD data (10 km × 10 km, nadir) in 16 cases on three separate days. While the correlation between AATS-14- and MODIS-derived AOD was weak with an r square of 0.55, almost 75% of all MODIS AOD measurements fell within the prelaunch estimated uncertainty range Δτ = ±0.03 ± 0.05τ. This weak correlation may be due to the small AODs (generally less than 0.1 at 0.5 μm) encountered in these comparison cases. An analogous coordination exercise resulted in seven coincident over-ocean matchups between AATS-14 and Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) measurements. The comparison between AATS-14 and the MISR standard algorithm regional mean AODs showed a stronger correlation with an r square of 0.94. However, MISR AODs were systematically larger than the corresponding AATS values, with an rms difference of ∼0.06. AATS data collected during nine extended low-level CV-580 flight tracks were used to assess the spatial variability in AOD at horizontal scales up to 100 km. At UV and midvisible wavelengths, the largest absolute gradients in AOD were 0.1–0.2 per 50-km horizontal distance. In the near-IR, analogous gradients rarely reached 0.05. On any given day, the relative gradients in AOD were remarkably similar for all wavelengths, with maximum values of 70% (50 km)−1 and more typical values of 25% (50 km)−1. The implications of these unique measurements of AOD spatial variability for common validation practices of satellite data products and for comparisons to large-scale aerosol models are discussed.

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Y. J. Kaufman, D. Tanré, B. N. Holben, S. Mattoo, L. A. Remer, T. F. Eck, J. Vaughan, and Bernadette Chatenet

Abstract

Accurate measurements of the spectral solar flux reaching the surface in cloud-free conditions are required to determine the aerosol radiative impact and to test aerosol models that are used to calculate radiative forcing of climate. Spectral flux measurements are hampered in many locations by persistent broken cloud fields. Here a new technique is developed to derive the diffuse solar spectral flux reaching the surface from principal-plane measurements conducted in the last six years by the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). This 50–100 instrument global network measures the principal-plane radiances in four spectral bands (0.44–1.02 μm) approximately every hour every day. These instruments also measure the spectral optical thickness and derive the aerosol size distribution and other properties from sky measurements. The advantage of the AERONET measurements is that collimated sky radiance is measured for each 1° × 1° field of view. Clouds and cloud shadows are rejected before the total sky brightness is reconstructed and the flux is derived. The results compare favorably with shadow band measurements and with aerosol models. Studied are smoke aerosol in Brazil; Saharan dust in Cape Verde; and urban–industrial pollution in Créteil, near Paris, France, and near Washington, D.C. The spectral attenuation of total (diffuse+direct) solar flux reaching the surface is given by f λ = exp(−a λb λ τ λ), where a λ is attenuation by an atmosphere with no aerosol and b λ is the aerosol attenuation coefficient. Remarkably, it is found that for these sites except for the Washington, D.C., site, the spectrally averaged value of b λ does not vary significantly from one aerosol type to another: {b λ} = 0.35 ± 0.03 (for solar zenith angle of 50°). The measured 24-h average aerosol impact on the solar flux at the surface per unit optical thickness is ΔFτ = −80 W m−2 in these sites, almost independent of the aerosol type: smoke, dust, or urban–industrial pollution. In Washington, D.C., it is suspected, and demonstrated in a back of the envelope calculation, that the high amount of broken cloudiness and its correlation with the aerosol optical thickness are responsible for the apparent small aerosol forcing at the surface of ΔFτ = −50 W m−2.

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K. M. Markowicz, P. J. Flatau, J. Remiszewska, M. Witek, E. A. Reid, J. S. Reid, A. Bucholtz, and B. Holben

Abstract

Aerosol radiative forcing in the Persian Gulf region is derived from data collected during the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Unified Aerosol Experiment (UAE2). This campaign took place in August and September of 2004. The land–sea-breeze circulation modulates the diurnal variability of the aerosol properties and aerosol radiative forcing at the surface. Larger aerosol radiative forcing is observed during the land breeze in comparison to the sea breeze. The aerosol optical properties change as the onshore wind brings slightly cleaner air. The mean diurnal value of the surface aerosol forcing during the UAE2 campaign is about −20 W m−2, which corresponds to large aerosol optical thickness (0.45 at 500 nm). The aerosol forcing efficiency [i.e., broadband shortwave forcing per unit optical depth at 550 nm, W m−2 (τ 500)−1] is −53 W m−2 (τ 500)−1 and the average single scattering albedo is 0.93 at 550 nm.

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C. A. Randles, A. M. da Silva, V. Buchard, P. R. Colarco, A. Darmenov, R. Govindaraju, A. Smirnov, B. Holben, R. Ferrare, J. Hair, Y. Shinozuka, and C. J. Flynn

Abstract

The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), updates NASA’s previous satellite-era (1980 onward) reanalysis system to include additional observations and improvements to the Goddard Earth Observing System, version 5 (GEOS-5), Earth system model. As a major step toward a full Integrated Earth Systems Analysis (IESA), in addition to meteorological observations, MERRA-2 now includes assimilation of aerosol optical depth (AOD) from various ground- and space-based remote sensing platforms. Here, in the first of a pair of studies, the MERRA-2 aerosol assimilation is documented, including a description of the prognostic model (GEOS-5 coupled to the GOCART aerosol module), aerosol emissions, and the quality control of ingested observations. Initial validation and evaluation of the analyzed AOD fields are provided using independent observations from ground, aircraft, and shipborne instruments. The positive impact of the AOD assimilation on simulated aerosols is demonstrated by comparing MERRA-2 aerosol fields to an identical control simulation that does not include AOD assimilation. After showing the AOD evaluation, this paper takes a first look at aerosol–climate interactions by examining the shortwave, clear-sky aerosol direct radiative effect. The companion paper (Part II) evaluates and validates available MERRA-2 aerosol properties not directly impacted by the AOD assimilation (e.g., aerosol vertical distribution and absorption). Importantly, while highlighting the skill of the MERRA-2 aerosol assimilation products, both studies point out caveats that must be considered when using this new reanalysis product for future studies of aerosols and their interactions with weather and climate.

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L. A. Remer, Y. J. Kaufman, D. Tanré, S. Mattoo, D. A. Chu, J. V. Martins, R.-R. Li, C. Ichoku, R. C. Levy, R. G. Kleidman, T. F. Eck, E. Vermote, and B. N. Holben

Abstract

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard both NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites is making near-global daily observations of the earth in a wide spectral range (0.41–15 μm). These measurements are used to derive spectral aerosol optical thickness and aerosol size parameters over both land and ocean. The aerosol products available over land include aerosol optical thickness at three visible wavelengths, a measure of the fraction of aerosol optical thickness attributed to the fine mode, and several derived parameters including reflected spectral solar flux at the top of the atmosphere. Over the ocean, the aerosol optical thickness is provided in seven wavelengths from 0.47 to 2.13 μm. In addition, quantitative aerosol size information includes effective radius of the aerosol and quantitative fraction of optical thickness attributed to the fine mode. Spectral irradiance contributed by the aerosol, mass concentration, and number of cloud condensation nuclei round out the list of available aerosol products over the ocean. The spectral optical thickness and effective radius of the aerosol over the ocean are validated by comparison with two years of Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) data gleaned from 132 AERONET stations. Eight thousand MODIS aerosol retrievals collocated with AERONET measurements confirm that one standard deviation of MODIS optical thickness retrievals fall within the predicted uncertainty of Δτ = ±0.03 ±0.05τ over ocean and Δτ = ±0.05 ± 0.15τ over land. Two hundred and seventy-one MODIS aerosol retrievals collocated with AERONET inversions at island and coastal sites suggest that one standard deviation of MODIS effective radius retrievals falls within Δr eff = ±0.11 μm. The accuracy of the MODIS retrievals suggests that the product can be used to help narrow the uncertainties associated with aerosol radiative forcing of global climate.

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K.-M. Lau, V. Ramanathan, G.-X. Wu, Z. Li, S. C. Tsay, C. Hsu, R. Sikka, B. Holben, D. Lu, G. Tartari, M. Chin, P. Koudelova, H. Chen, Y. Ma, J. Huang, K. Taniguchi, and R. Zhang

Aerosol- and moonsoon-related droughts and floods are two of the most serious environmental hazards confronting more than 60% of the population of the world living in the Asian monsoon countries. In recent years, thanks to improved satellite and in situ observations, and better models, great strides have been made in aerosol and monsoon research, respectively. There is now a growing body of evidence suggesting that interaction of aerosol forcing with monsoon dynamics may alter the redistribution of energy in the atmosphere and at the Earth s surface, thereby influencing monsoon water cycle and climate. In this article, the authors describe the scientific rationale and challenges for an integrated approach to study the interactions between aerosol and monsoon water cycle dynamics. A Joint Aerosol-Monsoon Experiment (JAMEX) is proposed for 2007–11, with enhanced observations of the physical and chemical properties, sources and sinks, and long-range transport of aerosols, in conjunction with meteorological and oceanographic observations in the Indo-Pacific continental and oceanic regions. JAMEX will leverage on coordination among many ongoing and planned national research programs on aerosols and monsoons in China, India, Japan, Nepal, Italy, and the United States, as well as international research programs of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

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