Simulation of the Ozone Monitoring Instrument aerosol index using the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System aerosol reanalysis products
Abstract. We provide an analysis of the commonly used Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aerosol index (AI) product for qualitative detection of the presence and loading of absorbing aerosols. In our analysis, simulated top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiances are produced at the OMI footprints from a model atmosphere and aerosol profile provided by the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS-5) Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications aerosol reanalysis (MERRAero). Having established the credibility of the MERRAero simulation of the OMI AI in a previous paper we describe updates in the approach and aerosol optical property assumptions. The OMI TOA radiances are computed in cloud-free conditions from the MERRAero atmospheric state, and the AI is calculated. The simulated TOA radiances are fed to the OMI near-UV aerosol retrieval algorithms (known as OMAERUV) is compared to the MERRAero calculated AI. Two main sources of discrepancy are discussed: one pertaining to the OMI algorithm assumptions of the surface pressure, which are generally different from what the actual surface pressure of an observation is, and the other related to simplifying assumptions in the molecular atmosphere radiative transfer used in the OMI algorithms. Surface pressure assumptions lead to systematic biases in the OMAERUV AI, particularly over the oceans. Simplifications in the molecular radiative transfer lead to biases particularly in regions of topography intermediate to surface pressures of 600 and 1013.25 hPa. Generally, the errors in the OMI AI due to these considerations are less than 0.2 in magnitude, though larger errors are possible, particularly over land. We recommend that future versions of the OMI algorithms use surface pressures from readily available atmospheric analyses combined with high-spatial-resolution topographic maps and include more surface pressure nodal points in their radiative transfer lookup tables.