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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-96
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-96
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 05 Apr 2019

Research article | 05 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

The role of aerosol layer height in quantifying aerosol absorption from ultraviolet satellite observations

Jiyunting Sun1,2, Pepijn Veefkind1,2, Swadhin Nanda1,2, Peter van Velthoven3, and Pieternel Levelt1,2 Jiyunting Sun et al.
  • 1Department of Satellite Observations, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, 3731 GA, the Netherlands
  • 2Department of Geoscience and Remote Sensing (GRS), Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, 2628 CD, the Netherlands
  • 3Department of Weather & Climate Models, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, 3731 GA, the Netherlands

Abstract. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that S-5P/TROPOMI aerosol layer height (ALH) observations can be used to improve the single scattering albedo (SSA) retrieval from ultraviolet satellite observations. We take the Thomas Fire in southern California on 12 December 2017 as a case study. In the first part of this paper, we apply conventional radiative transfer simulations to retrieve the SSA. With forward simulations constrained by TROPOMI ALH, we can determine the uncertainty in SSA due to the assumed spectral dependence of refractive indices between two wavelengths of the near-ultraviolet absorbing aerosol index (UVAI). A significant gap in the retrieved SSA (0.24) between radiative transfer simulations with grey and colored aerosols implies that inappropriate spectral dependences may cause severe misinterpretations of aerosol absorption. In the second part of this paper, we propose a data-driven method to quantify aerosol absorption from long-term measurements of UVAI, the aerosol optical depth (AOD) and ALH using support vector regression (SVR). We present the potential of TROPOMI ALH in this new method. The SVR predicted SSA (0.96 ± 0.01) outperforms that predicted by radiative transfer simulations (0.90 ± 0.05), considering the AERONET SSA measurement is 0.96 and assuming that the aerosol absorption should be homogeneous within the plume (i.e. small SSA standard deviation). We thus believe that the upcoming TROPOMI ALH product can make it feasible to quantify aerosol absorption via data-driven methods, which would play an important role in constructing a long-term global SSA data set.

Jiyunting Sun et al.
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Status: open (until 31 May 2019)
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Short summary
Single scattering albedo (SSA) is critical to reduce uncertainties in radiative forcing assessment. This paper presents two methods to retrieve SSA from satellite observations of UVAI. The first is physically-based radiative transfer simulations; the second is statistically-based machine learning algorithm. The retrieval result of the second method outperforms that of the former. Both methods show that the ALH is as necessary as ALH to quantitatively interpret aerosol absorption from UVAI.
Single scattering albedo (SSA) is critical to reduce uncertainties in radiative forcing...
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