RETRIEVAL OF TROPOSPHERIC AEROSOL PROPERTIES OVER LAND FROM INVERSION OF VISIBLE AND NEAR-INFRARED SPECTRAL REFLECTANCE: APPLICATION OVER MARYLAND
Dickerson, Russell R.
Remer, Lorraine A
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Aerosols are major components of the Earth's global climate system, affecting the radiation budget and cloud processes of the atmosphere. When located near the surface, high concentrations lead to lowered visibility, increased health problems and generally reduced quality of life for the human population. Over the United States mid-Atlantic region, aerosol pollution is a problem mainly during the summer. Satellites, such as the MODerate Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS), from their vantage point above the atmosphere, provide unprecedented coverage of global and regional aerosols over land. During MODIS' eight-year operation, exhaustive data validation and analyses have shown how the algorithm should be improved. This dissertation describes the development of the 'second-generation' operational algorithm for retrieval of global tropospheric aerosol properties over dark land surfaces, from MODIS -observed spectral reflectance. New understanding about global aerosol properties, land surface reflectance characteristics, and radiative transfer properties were learned in the process. This new operational algorithm performs a simultaneous inversion of reflectance in two visible channels (0.47 and 0.66 μm) and one shortwave infrared channel (2.12 μm), thereby having increased sensitivity to coarse aerosol. Inversion of the three channels retrieves the aerosol optical depth (τ) at 0.55 μm, the percentage of non-dust (fine model) aerosol (η) and the surface reflectance. This algorithm is applied globally, and retrieves τ that is highly correlated (y = 0.02 + 1.0x, R=0.9) with ground-based sunphotometer measurements. The new algorithm estimates the global, over-land, long-term averaged τ ~ 0.21, a 25% reduction from previous MODIS estimates. This leads to reducing estimates of global, non-desert, over-land aerosol direct radiative effect (all aerosols) by 1.7 W·m-2 (0.5 W·m-2 over the entire globe), which significantly impacts assessment of aerosol direct radiative forcing (contribution from anthropogenic aerosols only). Over the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, validated retrievals of τ (an integrated column property) can help to estimate surface PM2.5 concentration, a monitored criteria air quality property. The 3-dimensional aerosol loading in the region is characterized using aircraft measurements and the Community Multi-scale Air Quality Model (CMAQ) model, leading to some convergence of observed quantities and modeled processes.