Articles | Volume 6, issue 5
Research article
23 May 2013
Research article |  | 23 May 2013

Aerosol classification from airborne HSRL and comparisons with the CALIPSO vertical feature mask

S. P. Burton, R. A. Ferrare, M. A. Vaughan, A. H. Omar, R. R. Rogers, C. A. Hostetler, and J. W. Hair

Abstract. Aerosol classification products from the NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) airborne High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL-1) on the NASA B200 aircraft are compared with coincident V3.01 aerosol classification products from the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) instrument on the CALIPSO satellite. For CALIOP, aerosol classification is a key input to the aerosol retrieval, and must be inferred using aerosol loading-dependent observations and location information. In contrast, HSRL-1 makes direct measurements of aerosol intensive properties, including the lidar ratio, that provide information on aerosol type. In this study, comparisons are made for 109 underflights of the CALIOP orbit track. We find that 62% of the CALIOP marine layers and 54% of the polluted continental layers agree with HSRL-1 classification results. In addition, 80% of the CALIOP desert dust layers are classified as either dust or dusty mix byHSRL-1. However, agreement is less for CALIOP smoke (13%) and polluted dust (35%) layers. Specific case studies are examined, giving insight into the performance of the CALIOP aerosol type algorithm. In particular, we find that the CALIOP polluted dust type is overused due to an attenuation-related depolarization bias. Furthermore, the polluted dust type frequently includes mixtures of dust plus marine aerosol. Finally, we find that CALIOP's identification of internal boundaries between different aerosol types in contact with each other frequently do not reflect the actual transitions between aerosol types accurately. Based on these findings, we give recommendations which may help to improve the CALIOP aerosol type algorithms.