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Evaluation of seven European aerosol optical depth retrieval algorithms for climate analysis

de Leeuw, G., Holzer-Popp, T., Bevan, S., Davies, W. H., Descloitres, J., Grainger, R. G., Griesfeller, J., Heckel, A., Kinne, S., Klüser, L., Kolmonen, P., Litvinov, P., Martynenko, D., North, P., Ovigneur, B., Pascal, N., Poulsen, C., Ramon, D., Schulz, M., Siddans, R., Sogacheva, L., Tanré, D., Thomas, G. E., Virtanen, T. H., von Hoyningen Huene, W., Vountas, M. and Pinnock, S. (2013) Evaluation of seven European aerosol optical depth retrieval algorithms for climate analysis. Remote Sensing of Environment, 162. pp. 295-315. ISSN 0034-4257

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2013.04.023


Satellite data are increasingly used to provide observation-based estimates of the effects of aerosols on climate. The Aerosol-cci project, part of the European Space Agency's Climate Change Initiative (CCI), was designed to provide essential climate variables for aerosols from satellite data. Eight algorithms, developed for the retrieval of aerosol properties using data from AATSR (4), MERIS (3) and POLDER, were evaluated to determine their suitability for climate studies. The primary result from each of these algorithms is the aerosol optical depth (AOD) at several wavelengths, together with the Ångström exponent (AE) which describes the spectral variation of the AOD for a given wavelength pair. Other aerosol parameters which are possibly retrieved from satellite observations are not considered in this paper. The AOD and AE (AE only for Level 2) were evaluated against independent collocated observations from the ground-based AERONET sun photometer network and against “reference” satellite data provided by MODIS and MISR. Tools used for the evaluation were developed for daily products as produced by the retrieval with a spatial resolution of 10 × 10 km2 (Level 2) and daily or monthly aggregates (Level 3). These tools include statistics for L2 and L3 products compared with AERONET, as well as scoring based on spatial and temporal correlations. In this paper we describe their use in a round robin (RR) evaluation of four months of data, one month for each season in 2008. The amount of data was restricted to only four months because of the large effort made to improve the algorithms, and to evaluate the improvement and current status, before larger data sets will be processed. Evaluation criteria are discussed. Results presented show the current status of the European aerosol algorithms in comparison to both AERONET and MODIS and MISR data. The comparison leads to a preliminary conclusion that the scores are similar, including those for the references, but the coverage of AATSR needs to be enhanced and further improvements are possible for most algorithms. None of the algorithms, including the references, outperforms all others everywhere. AATSR data can be used for the retrieval of AOD and AE over land and ocean. PARASOL and one of the MERIS algorithms have been evaluated over ocean only and both algorithms provide good results.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:36777

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