The inter-comparison of major satellite aerosol retrieval algorithms using simulated intensity and polarization characteristics of reflected light
Abstract. Remote sensing of aerosol from space is a challenging and typically underdetermined retrieval task, requiring many assumptions to be made with respect to the aerosol and surface models. Therefore, the quality of a priori information plays a central role in any retrieval process (apart from the cloud screening procedure and the forward radiative transfer model, which to be most accurate should include the treatment of light polarization and molecular-aerosol coupling). In this paper the performance of various algorithms with respect to the of spectral aerosol optical thickness determination from optical spaceborne measurements is studied. The algorithms are based on various types of measurements (spectral, angular, polarization, or some combination of these). It is confirmed that multiangular spectropolarimetric measurements provide more powerful constraints compared to spectral intensity measurements alone, particularly those acquired at a single view angle and which rely on a priori assumptions regarding the particle phase function in the retrieval process.