Retrieval of aerosol optical depth in vicinity of broken clouds from reflectance ratios: case study
Abstract. A recently developed reflectance ratio (RR) method for the retrieval of aerosol optical depth (AOD) is evaluated using extensive airborne and ground-based data sets collected during the Cloud and Land Surface Interaction Campaign (CLASIC) and the Cumulus Humilis Aerosol Processing Study (CHAPS), which took place in June 2007 over the US Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains site. A detailed case study is performed for a field of single-layer shallow cumuli observed on 12 June 2007. The RR method is applied to retrieve the spectral values of AOD from the reflectance ratios measured by the MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS) for two pairs of wavelengths (660 and 470 nm, 870 and 470 nm) collected at a spatial resolution of 0.05 km. The retrieval is compared with an independent AOD estimate from three ground-based Multi-filter Rotating Shadowband Radiometers (MFRSRs). The interpolation algorithm that is used to project MFRSR point measurements onto the aircraft flight tracks is tested using AOD derived from NASA Langley High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL). The RR AOD estimates are in a good agreement (within 5%) with the MFRSR-derived AOD values for the 660-nm wavelength. The AODs obtained from MAS reflectance ratios overestimate those derived from MFRSR measurements by 15–30% for the 470-nm wavelength and underestimate the 870-nm AOD by the same amount.