Related Research Areas
Atmospheric Composition

We propose to assess the ability of combined data from the Glory Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS) and the Ozone Measuring Instrument (OMI) to identify aerosol composition (and, more generally, aerosol type) from space by using two innovative techniques: (1) searching for regional and seasonal patterns in the wavelength dependence of aerosol absorption optical depth (AAOD) and single scattering albedo (SSA) spectra, and (2) using objective cluster analysis techniques that combine all relevant APS or APS-OMI data products (e.g., aerosol size, shape, and real refractive index spectra, in addition to absorption spectra). The first technique builds on recent results from diverse air, ground, and laboratory studies showing that the fractions of black carbon, organic carbon, and dust in aerosols determine the wavelength dependence of absorption (expressed as absorption Angstrom exponent, or AAE). The second builds on objective cluster analysis techniques that have been successfully used to determine aerosol type from two different types of input data: (a) Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) retrieved properties, and (b) High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) measurements. Our assessment will include comparing the APS-OMI results to suborbital determinations of aerosol type from Glory cal/val campaigns and more routine measurements. We will also compare the APS-OMI results to aerosol composition and size determinations from chemical-transport model results for the relevant APS and OMI pixels.

Significance: Determination of aerosol composition (and, indeed, aerosol multiwavelength absorption) from space is difficult at best but, if successful, would permit major advances in studies of aerosol radiative-climatic impacts, aerosol chemistry and air quality, atmospheric correction for land and ocean remote sensing, aerosol-cloud interactions, and possibly precipitation. Prospects for success of the proposed approach are increased by: (1) The highly accurate polarization measurement capability of Glory APS over a broad wavelength range, enabling improved retrievals of aerosol shape and complex refractive index compared to previous satellite sensors, and (2) OMI’s ability to retrieve AAOD at ultraviolet wavelengths as a primary data product, thus extending the APS wavelength range into a region where absorption by both dust and organic carbon is often strongest. The purpose of the proposed research is to test this strong promise by building on (1) robust suborbital results linking composition and AAE, and (2) clustering techniques that have proven very successful for aerosol typing with AERONET and HSRL data. The proposed research will thus capitalize on the considerable investment made by NASA and other agencies in these suborbital studies by applying their methods to data products from the A-Train of satellites.

Project PI: Philip Russell/NASA Ames Research Center

NASA Ames Research Center: MS 245-5, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

Phone: (650) 604-5404



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Started: Sep 03, 2010

Last Activity: Feb 02, 2011


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