Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Martijn Smit1, Jeroen Rietjens2, Gerard van Harten3, Antonio di Noia2, Otto Peter Hasekamp1, Frans Snik2,3 and Christoph Andrea Keller3, (1)Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, 3584, Netherlands, (2)Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, Netherlands, (3)Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
Multi-angle spectro-polarimetry holds great potential as a remote sensing technique to derive aerosol information. A consortium of Dutch research institutes has developed a multi-angle spectro-polarimeter that is based on a novel method for measuring the state of linear polarization: spectral modulation.

Through a series of carefully selected birefringent crystals, the polarization state of scattered sunlight is encoded in a sinusoidal modulation in the intensity spectrum.The technique is entirely passive. As consequence of the method is that spectral flux and state of polarization are measured simultaneouslyin a single measurement of a target scene.

The technique has been employed in two instrument realizations, that are both referenced by the name SPEX: SPectro-polarimeter Experiment. A compact prototype SPEX instrument for space-based observations operates in the 400-800nm wavelength range and consists of nine fixed viewing apertures with a swath of 7 degrees each and an angular resolution of 1deg x 1deg. The space-SPEX instrument is currently being made fit to perform aerosol characterization campaigns on-board an ER-2 research aircraft together with NASA’s Research Scanning Polarimeter. Another realization is groundSPEX, that was developed specifically for air-quality observations made from the ground.

 Both instruments were calibrated using 100% polarized light, assuming a bias-free linear response. This was validated in different ways. Using a recently developed polarization calibration stimulus we demonstrate the excellent polarimetric performance of the SPEX prototype: a polarimetric accuracy better than 0.002 + 0.01*DoLP. The overall random polarization error of groundSPEX was determined to be 0.005 by fitting the angular dependence of principle plane polarization measurements.

We will present results of ground-based measurements with both SPEX instruments. We will intercompare aerosol characterization parameters such as Aerosol Optical Thickness, refractive index, and effective radii, and also compare SPEX retrievals with products of the co-located Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) station. The results indicate that the SPEX measurement concept has the power to deliver high quality aerosol parameters.