Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Research article
26 Feb 2013
Research article |  | 26 Feb 2013

Aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrieval using simultaneous GOES-East and GOES-West reflected radiances over the western United States

H. Zhang, R. M. Hoff, S. Kondragunta, I. Laszlo, and A. Lyapustin

Abstract. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) in the western United States is observed independently by both the (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites) GOES-East and GOES-West imagers. The GASP (GOES Aerosol/Smoke Product) aerosol optical depth retrieval algorithm treats each satellite as a unique sensor and thus obtains two separate aerosol optical depth values at the same time for the same location. The TOA (the top of the atmosphere) radiances and the associated derived optical depths can be quite different due to the different viewing geometries with large difference in solar-scattering angles. In order to fully exploit the simultaneous observations and generate consistent AOD retrievals from the two satellites, the authors develop a new "hybrid" aerosol optical depth retrieval algorithm that uses data from both satellites. The algorithm uses both GOES-East and GOES-West visible channel TOA reflectance and daily average AOD from GOES Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (GOES-MAIAC) on low AOD days (AOD less than 0.3), when diurnal variation of AOD is low, to retrieve surface BRDF (Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function). The known BRDF shape is applied on subsequent days to retrieve BRDF and AOD. The algorithm is validated at three AERONET sites over the western US. The AOD retrieval accuracy from the "hybrid" technique using the two satellites is similar to that from one satellite over UCSB (University of California Santa Barbara) and Railroad Valley, Nevada. Improvement of the accuracy is observed at Boulder, Colorado. The correlation coefficients between the GOES AOD and AERONET AOD are in the range of 0.67 to 0.81. More than 74% of AOD retrievals are within the error of ±(0.05 + 0.15 τ) compared to AERONET AOD. The hybrid algorithm has more data coverage compared to the single satellite retrievals over surfaces with high surface reflectance. For single observation areas the number of valid AOD data increases from the use of two-single satellite algorithms by 5–80% for the three sites. With the application of the new algorithm, consistent AOD retrievals and better retrieval coverages can be obtained using the data from the two GOES satellite imagers.