Evaluation of Aerosol Pollution Determination From MODIS Satellite Retrievals for Semi-Arid Reno, NV, USA with In-Situ Measurements
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The aim of the present work is to carry out a detailed analysis of ground and columnar aerosol properties obtained by in-situ Photoacoustic and Integrated Nephelometer (PIN), Cimel CE-318 sunphotometer and MODIS instrument onboard Aqua and Terra satellites, for semi-arid Reno, Nevada, USA in the local summer months of 2012. Satellite determination of local aerosol pollution is desirable because of the potential for broad spatial and temporal coverage. However, retrieval of quantitative measures of air pollution such as Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) from satellite measurements is challenging because of the underlying surface albedo being heterogeneous in space and time. Therefore, comparisons of satellite retrievals with measurements from ground-based sun photometers are crucial for validation, testing, and further development of instruments and retrieval algorithmsGround-based sunphotometry and in-situ ground observations show that seasonal weather changes and fire plumes have great influence on the atmosphere aerosol optics. The Apparent Optical Height (AOH) follows the shape of the development of the Convective Boundary Layer (CBL) when fire conditions were not present. However, significant fine particle optical depth was inferred beyond the CBL thereby complicating the use of remote sensing measurements for near-ground aerosol pollution measurements. A meteorological analysis was performed to help diagnose the nature of the aerosols above Reno. The calculation of a Zephyr index and back trajectory analysis demonstrated that a local circulation often induces aerosol transport from Northern CA over the Sierra Nevada Mountains that doubles the Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) at 500 nm. Sunphotometer measurements were used as a `ground truth' for satellite retrievals to evaluate the current state of the science retrievals in this challenging location. Satellite retrieved for AOD showed the presence of wild fires in Northern CA during August. AOD retrieved using the "dark-target algorithm" may be unrealistically high over the Great Basin. Low correlation was found between AERONET AOD and dark-target algorithm AOD retrievals from Aqua and Terra during June and July. During fire conditions the dark-target algorithm AOD values correlated better with AERONET measurements in August. Use of the Deep-blue algorithm for MODIS data to retrieve AOD did not provide enough points to compare with AERONET in June and July. In August, AOD from deep-blue and AERONET retrievals exhibited low correlation. AEE from MODIS products and AERONET exhibited low correlation during every month. Apparently satellite AOD retrievals need much improvement for areas like semi-arid Reno.