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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
30 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
New approach to the retrieval of AOD and its uncertainty from MISR observations over dark water
Marcin L. Witek, Michael J. Garay, David J. Diner, Michael A. Bull, and Felix C. Seidel Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Abstract. A new method for retrieving aerosol optical depth (AOD) and its uncertainty from Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) observations over dark water is outlined. MISR’s aerosol retrieval algorithm calculates cost functions between observed and pre-simulated radiances for a range of AODs (from 0.0 to 3.0) and a prescribed set of aerosol mixtures. The previous Version 22 (V22) operational algorithm considered only the AOD that minimized the cost function for each aerosol mixture, then used a combination of these values to compute the final, best estimate AOD and associated uncertainty. The new approach considers the entire range of cost functions associated with each aerosol mixture. The uncertainty of the reported AOD depends on a combination of a) the absolute values of the cost functions for each aerosol mixture, b) the widths of the cost function distributions as a function of AOD, and c) the spread of the cost function distributions among the ensemble of mixtures. A key benefit of the new approach is that, unlike the V22 algorithm, it does not rely on arbitrary thresholds imposed on the cost function to determine the success or failure of a particular mixture. Furthermore, a new Aerosol Retrieval Confidence Index (ARCI) is established that can be used to screen high-AOD retrieval blunders caused by cloud contamination or other factors. Requiring ARCI ≥ 0.15 as a condition for retrieval success is supported through statistical analysis and outperforms the thresholds used in the V22 algorithm. The described changes to the MISR dark water algorithm will become operational in the new MISR aerosol product (V23), planned for release in 2017.

Citation: Witek, M. L., Garay, M. J., Diner, D. J., Bull, M. A., and Seidel, F. C.: New approach to the retrieval of AOD and its uncertainty from MISR observations over dark water, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Marcin L. Witek et al.
Marcin L. Witek et al.
Marcin L. Witek et al.


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