Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
03 Feb 2011
 | 03 Feb 2011

Retrieval of spectral aerosol optical thickness over land using ocean color sensors MERIS and SeaWiFS

W. von Hoyningen-Huene, J. Yoon, M. Vountas, L. G. Istomina, G. Rohen, T. Dinter, A. A. Kokhanovsky, and J. P. Burrows

Abstract. For the determination of aerosol optical thickness (AOT) Bremen AErosol Retrieval (BAER) has been developed. Method and main features on the aerosol retrieval are described together with validation and results. The retrieval separates the spectral aerosol reflectance from surface and Rayleigh path reflectance for the shortwave range of the measured spectrum of top-of-atmosphere reflectance for wavelength less than 0.670 μm. The advantage of MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on the Environmental Satellite – ENVISAT – of the European Space Agency – ESA) and SeaWiFS (Sea viewing Wide Field Sensor on OrbView-2 spacecraft) observations is the availability of several spectral channels in the blue and visible range enabling the spectral determination of AOT in 7 (or 6) channels (0.412–0.670 μm) and additionally channels in the NIR, which can be used to characterize the surface properties. A dynamical spectral surface reflectance model for different surface types is used to obtain the spectral surface reflectance for this separation. The normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI), taken from the satellite observations, is the model input. Further surface bi-directional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) is considered by the Raman-Pinty-Verstraete (RPV) model. Spectral AOT is obtained from aerosol reflectance using look-up-tables, obtained from radiative transfer calculations with given aerosol phase functions and single scattering albedos either from aerosol models, given by model package "optical properties of aerosol components" (OPAC) or from experimental campaigns. Validations of the obtained AOT retrieval results with data of Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) over Europe gave a preference for experimental phase functions derived from almucantar measurements. Finally long-term observations of SeaWiFS have been investigated for 11 year trends in AOT. Western European regions have negative trends with decreasing AOT with time. For the investigated Asian region increasing AOT have been found.