Articles | Volume 6, issue 7
Research article
 | Highlight paper
31 Jul 2013
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 31 Jul 2013

MODIS 3 km aerosol product: algorithm and global perspective

L. A. Remer, S. Mattoo, R. C. Levy, and L. A. Munchak

Abstract. After more than a decade of producing a nominal 10 km aerosol product based on the dark target method, the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aerosol team will be releasing a nominal 3 km product as part of their Collection 6 release. The new product differs from the original 10 km product only in the manner in which reflectance pixels are ingested, organized and selected by the aerosol algorithm. Overall, the 3 km product closely mirrors the 10 km product. However, the finer resolution product is able to retrieve over the ocean closer to islands and coastlines, and is better able to resolve fine aerosol features such as smoke plumes over both ocean and land. In some situations, it provides retrievals over entire regions that the 10 km product barely samples. In situations traditionally difficult for the dark target algorithm such as over bright or urban surfaces, the 3 km product introduces isolated spikes of artificially high aerosol optical depth (AOD) that the 10 km algorithm avoids. Over land, globally, the 3 km product appears to be 0.01 to 0.02 higher than the 10 km product, while over ocean, the 3 km algorithm is retrieving a proportionally greater number of very low aerosol loading situations. Based on collocations with ground-based observations for only six months, expected errors associated with the 3 km land product are determined to be greater than that of the 10 km product: ± 0.05 ± 0.20 AOD. Over ocean, the suggestion is for expected errors to be the same as the 10 km product: ± 0.03 ± 0.05 AOD, but slightly less accurate in the coastal zone. The advantage of the product is on the local scale, which will require continued evaluation not addressed here. Nevertheless, the new 3 km product is expected to provide important information complementary to existing satellite-derived products and become an important tool for the aerosol community.