Monitoring and tracking the trans-Pacific transport of aerosols using multi-satellite aerosol optical depth composites
Abstract. The primary goal of this study was to generate a near-real time (NRT) aerosol optical depth (AOD) product capable of providing a comprehensive understanding of the aerosol spatial distribution over the Pacific Ocean, in order to better monitor and track the trans-Pacific transport of aerosols. Therefore, we developed a NRT product that takes advantage of observations from both low-earth orbiting and geostationary satellites. In particular, we utilize AOD products from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellites. Then, we combine these AOD products with our own retrieval algorithms developed for the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-15) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) Multi-functional Transport Satellite (MTSAT-2) to generate a NRT daily AOD composite product. We present examples of the daily AOD composite product for a case study of trans-Pacific transport of Asian pollution and dust aerosols in mid-March 2014. Overall, the new product successfully tracks this aerosol plume during its trans-Pacific transport to the west coast of North America as the frequent geostationary observations lead to a greater coverage of cloud-free AOD retrievals equatorward of about 35° N, while the polar-orbiting satellites provide a greater coverage of AOD poleward of 35° N. However, we note several areas across the domain of interest from Asia to North America where the GOES-15 and MTSAT-2 retrieval algorithms can introduce significant uncertainties into the new product.