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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-323
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
06 Sep 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Error sources in the retrieval of aerosol information over bright surfaces from satellite measurements in the oxygen A-band
Swadhin Nanda1,2, Martin de Graaf1, Maarten Sneep1, Johan F. de Haan1, Piet Stammes1, Abram F. J. Sanders3, Olaf Tuinder1, J. Pepijn Veefkind1,2, and Pieternel F. Levelt1,2 1Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Utrechtseweg 297, 3731 GA De Bilt, The Netherlands
2Delft university of Technology (TU Delft), Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
3University of Bremen, Institute of Environmental Physics, Otto-Hahn-Allee 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Abstract. Retrieving aerosol optical thickness and aerosol layer height over a bright surface from measured top of atmosphere reflectance spectrum in the oxygen A-band is known to be challenging, often resulting in large errors. In certain atmospheric conditions and viewing geometries, a loss of sensitivity to aerosol optical thickness has been reported in literature. This loss of sensitivity has been attributed to a phenomenon known as critical surface albedo regime, which is a range of surface albedos for which the top of atmosphere reflectance has minimal sensitivity to aerosol optical thickness. This paper extends the concept of critical surface albedo for aerosol layer height retrievals in the oxygen A-band, and discusses its implications. The underlying physics are introduced by analysing top of atmosphere reflectance spectra obtained using a radiative transfer model. Furthermore, error analysis of the aerosol layer height retrieval algorithm are conducted over dark and bright surfaces to show the dependency on surface reflectance. The analysis shows that the information on aerosol layer height from atmospheric path contribution and the surface contribution to the top of atmosphere are opposite in sign – an increase in surface brightness results in a decrease in information content. In the case of aerosol optical thickness, these contributions are anti-correlated, leading to large retrieval errors in high surface albedo regimes. The consequence of this anti-correlation is demonstrated with measured spectra in the oxygen A-band from GOME-2A instrument on board the Metop-A satellite over the 2010 Russian wildfires incident.

Citation: Nanda, S., de Graaf, M., Sneep, M., de Haan, J. F., Stammes, P., Sanders, A. F. J., Tuinder, O., Veefkind, J. P., and Levelt, P. F.: Error sources in the retrieval of aerosol information over bright surfaces from satellite measurements in the oxygen A-band, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-323, in review, 2017.
Swadhin Nanda et al.
Swadhin Nanda et al.
Swadhin Nanda et al.

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Short summary
Estimating aerosol layer height in the atmosphere from satellite data in the oxygen A-band (758–770 nm) over land is challenging over land, since the surface is generally very bright in this wavelength region. This paper discusses an interplay between the surface and the atmosphere in their contributions to the top of atmosphere reflectance spectrum and the consequent biases obtained while estimating aerosol layer height, using synthetic data and real data from the GOME-2 satellite instrument.
Estimating aerosol layer height in the atmosphere from satellite data in the oxygen A-band...
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