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Developing an Aircraft-Based Angular Distribution Model of Solar Reflection...

Várnai, T., C. Gatebe, R. Gautam, R. Poudyal, and W. Su (2019), Developing an Aircraft-Based Angular Distribution Model of Solar Reflection from Wildfire Smoke to Aid Satellite-Based Radiative Flux Estimation, doi:10.3390/rs11131509.

This study examines the angular distribution of scattered solar radiation associated with wildfire smoke aerosols observed over boreal forests in Canada during the ARCTAS (Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites) campaign. First, it estimates smoke radiative parameters (550 nm optical depth of 3.9 and single scattering albedo of 0.90) using quasi-simultaneous multiangular and multispectral airborne measurements by the Cloud Absorption Radiometer (CAR). Next, the paper estimates the broadband top-of-atmosphere radiances that a satellite instrument such as the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) could have observed, given the narrowband CAR measurements made from an aircraft circling about a kilometer above the smoke layer. This estimation includes both an atmospheric correction that accounts for the atmosphere above the aircraft and a narrowband-to-broadband conversion. The angular distribution of estimated radiances is found to be substantially different than the angular model used in the operational data processing of CERES observations over the same area. This is because the CERES model is a monthly average model that was constructed using observations taken under smoke-free conditions. Finally, a sensitivity analysis shows that the estimated angular distribution remains accurate for a fairly wide range of smoke and underlying surface parameters. Overall, results from this work suggest that airborne CAR measurements can bring some substantial improvements in the accuracy of satellite-based radiative flux estimates.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition
Radiation Science Program (RSP)