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Improved assessment of aerosol absorption using OMI-MODIS joint retrieval

Satheesh, S. K., O. Torres, L. Remer, S. S. Babu, V. Vinoj, T. F. Eck, R. G. Kleidman, and B. Holben (2009), Improved assessment of aerosol absorption using OMI-MODIS joint retrieval, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D05209, doi:10.1029/2008JD011024.

The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aboard EOS-Aura and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard EOS-Aqua fly in formation as part of the A-train. Though OMI retrieves aerosol optical depth (AOD) and aerosol absorption, it must assume aerosol layer height. The MODIS cannot retrieve aerosol absorption, but MODIS aerosol retrieval is not sensitive to aerosol layer height and with its smaller pixel size is less affected by subpixel clouds. Here we demonstrate an approach that uses MODIS-retrieved AOD to constrain the OMI retrieval, freeing OMI from making an a priori estimate of aerosol height and allowing a more direct retrieval of aerosol absorption. To predict near-UV optical depths using MODIS data we rely on the spectral curvature of the MODIS-retrieved visible and near-IR spectral AODs. Application of an OMI-MODIS joint retrieval over the north tropical Atlantic shows good agreement between OMI and MODIS-predicted AODs in the UV, which implies that the aerosol height assumed in the OMI-standard algorithm is probably correct. In contrast, over the Arabian Sea, MODIS-predicted AOD deviated from the OMI-standard retrieval, but combined OMI-MODIS retrievals substantially improved information on aerosol layer height (on the basis of validation against airborne lidar measurements). This implies an improvement in the aerosol absorption retrieval, but lack of UV absorption measurements prevents a true validation. Our study demonstrates the potential of multisatellite analysis of A-train data to improve the accuracy of retrieved aerosol products and suggests that a combined OMI-MODIS-CALIPSO retrieval has large potential to further improve assessments of aerosol absorption.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Aura OMI