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MISR Calibration and Implications for Low-Light-Level Aerosol Retrieval over...

Kahn, R., W. Li, J. V. Martonchik, C. J. Bruegge, D. Diner, B. J. Gaitley, W. Abdou, O. Dubovik, B. Holben, A. Smirnov, Z. Jin, and D. Clark (2005), MISR Calibration and Implications for Low-Light-Level Aerosol Retrieval over Dark Water, J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 1032-1052.

Studying aerosols over ocean is one goal of the Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) and other spaceborne imaging systems. But top-of-atmosphere equivalent reflectance typically falls in the range of 0.03 to 0.12 at midvisible wavelengths and can be below 0.01 in the near-infrared, when an optically thin aerosol layer is viewed over a dark ocean surface. Special attention must be given to radiometric calibration if aerosol optical thickness, and any information about particle microphysical properties, are to be reliably retrieved from such observations. MISR low-light-level vicarious calibration is performed in the vicinity of remote islands hosting Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sun- and sky-scanning radiometers, under low aerosol loading, low wind speed, relatively cloud free conditions. MISR equivalent reflectance is compared with values calculated from a radiative transfer model constrained by coincident, AERONETretrieved aerosol spectral optical thickness, size distribution, and single scattering albedo, along with in situ wind measurements. Where the nadir view is not in sun glint, MISR equivalent reflectance is also compared with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) reflectance. The authors push the limits of the vicarious calibration method’s accuracy, aiming to assess absolute, camera-to-camera, and band-toband radiometry. Patterns repeated over many well-constrained cases lend confidence to the results, at a few percent accuracy, as do additional vicarious calibration tests performed with multiplatform observations taken during the Chesapeake Lighthouse and Aircraft Measurements for Satellites (CLAMS) campaign. Conclusions are strongest in the red and green bands, but are too uncertain to accept for the near-infrared. MISR nadir-view and MODIS low-light-level absolute reflectances differ by about 4% in the blue and green bands, with MISR reporting higher values. In the red, MISR agrees with MODIS band 14 to better than 2%, whereas MODIS band 1 is significantly lower. Compared to the AERONET-constrained model, the MISR aft-viewing cameras report reflectances too high by several percent in the blue, green, and possibly the red. Better agreement is found in the nadir- and the forward-viewing cameras, especially in the blue and green. When implemented on a trial basis, calibration adjustments indicated by this work remove 40% of a 0.05 bias in retrieved midvisible aerosol optical depth over dark water scenes, produced by the early postlaunch MISR algorithm. A band-to-band correction has already been made to the MISR products, and the remaining calibration adjustments, totaling no more than a few percent, are planned.

Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Radiation Science Program (RSP)