Related Research Areas
Atmospheric Composition

We propose to (1) Assess the information content of Glory Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS) data by comparisons to available calibration/validation data, with special attention to the ability to determine aerosol absorption and composition with APS data, both separately and in combination with OMI and/or CALIPSO data; (2) Search for regional and seasonal patterns in spectra of aerosol absorption optical depth (AAOD) and single scattering albedo (SSA); and (3) Assess whether such spaceborne aerosol absorption data can be used (separately or in combination with other available spaceborne data) as a reliable means for identifying aerosol composition from space, and develop objective cluster analysis techniques for determining aerosol type by combining all relevant remotely sensed variables. The AAOD spectra studies will build on recent results from diverse air, ground, and laboratory studies showing that the fractions of black carbon, organic carbon, and mineral dust in aerosols determine the wavelength dependence of absorption (expressed as absorption Angstrom exponent, or AAE). The cluster techniques will build on those 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. We will also compare the APS and/or APS-OMI-CALIPSO results to aerosol composition and size determinations from chemical-transport model results for the relevant APS, OMI, and CALIPSO 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, (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, and (3) CALIPSO information on aerosol layer height, which can reduce the aerosol height-absorption aliasing that would otherwise occur. 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 27, 2010

Last Activity: Jan 04, 2011


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