25 Apr 2023
 | 25 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Spring and summertime aerosol optical depth retrieval over the Arctic cryosphere by using satellite observations

Basudev Swain, Marco Vountas, Adrien Deroubaix, Luca Lelli, Yanick Ziegler, Soheila Jafariserajehlou, Sachin S. Gunthe, and John P. Burrows

Abstract. The Arctic climate has changed significantly over the past two to three decades. Aerosols play various roles in the radiative forcing in the Arctic, both directly and indirectly, depending on the changes in loading and composition. However, their observation from the ground or with airborne instruments is challenging and thus measurements are sparse. In this study, total Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) is determined from top-of-atmosphere reflectance measurements by the Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) aboard ENVISAT over snow and ice in the Arctic using a retrieval called AEROSNOW for the period 2003 to 2011. We use the dual-viewing capability of the AATSR instrument to reduce the impact of surface reflectance on the accuracy of AOD. The AOD is retrieved assuming that the surface reflectance observed by the satellite can be well-parametrized by a bidirectional snow reflectance distribution function, BRDF. The spatial distribution of AODs shows that high values in spring (March, April, May) and lower AOD values in summer (June, July, August) are well captured. Spaceborne AOD values are consistent with colocated AERONET measurements, with no systematic bias as a function of time. The AEROSNOW AOD in the high Arctic ( ≥ 72° N) was validated by comparison with ground-based measurements at the PEARL, OPAL, Hornsund, and Thule stations. The AEROSNOW AOD value is less than 0.15 on average and the regression to AERONET yields a slope of 0.98, a Pearson correlation coefficient of R = 0.86, and an RMSE = 0.01 at a monthly scale, both in spring and summer. These AOD results provide, for the first time, observational insights into the central Arctic with significant spatial and temporal coverage.

Basudev Swain et al.

Status: open (until 15 Jun 2023)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2023-65', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 May 2023 reply

Basudev Swain et al.

Basudev Swain et al.


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Short summary
Aerosols are suspensions of particles, dispersed in the air. In this study, we use a novel retrieval of satellite data to investigate an optical property of aerosols, the aerosol optical depth, in the high Arctic to assess their direct and indirect roles in climate change. This study demonstrates that the presented approach shows good quality and very promising potential.