Evidence of Arctic-wide Atmospheric Aerosols from DMSP Visible Imagery

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  • a Department of Geography, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • | b Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964
  • | c Department of Geography, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • | d Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964
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Abstract

Recent work has emphasized the potential importance of atmospheric aerosols in the Arctic. This paper presents results indicating the large-scale presence of arctic aerosols during late spring. Their screening effect may be sufficient to alter significantly the shortwave radiation budget. The ratios of brightness over sea and snow covered ice surfaces are shown to be considerably lower, using DMSP shortwave imagery, than those calculated for clear skies using a radiative transfer scheme. Our analysis shows that aerosols are the most likely cause of the discrepancy. With additional calibration the method offers the potential for remote sensing of the aerosol distribution and concentration over the Arctic.

Abstract

Recent work has emphasized the potential importance of atmospheric aerosols in the Arctic. This paper presents results indicating the large-scale presence of arctic aerosols during late spring. Their screening effect may be sufficient to alter significantly the shortwave radiation budget. The ratios of brightness over sea and snow covered ice surfaces are shown to be considerably lower, using DMSP shortwave imagery, than those calculated for clear skies using a radiative transfer scheme. Our analysis shows that aerosols are the most likely cause of the discrepancy. With additional calibration the method offers the potential for remote sensing of the aerosol distribution and concentration over the Arctic.

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