Comparison of Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) joint aerosol product with high-resolution model output

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Huikyo Lee, Olga Kalashnikova, Kentaroh Suzuki and Amy J Braverman, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) Level 3 Joint Aerosol product (JOINT_AS) provides global, descriptive summary of MISR Level 2 aerosol optical thickness (AOT) for eight different types of aerosols at 5 x 5 degrees of horizontal resolution in each month between March 2000 and present. Using Version 22 JOINT_AS, this study analyzed characteristics of the observed AOT distributions and compared various statistical moments of aerosol optical thickness derived from JOINT_AS with the results from Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM) simulation. Overall, marginal distributions of AOT show highly positive skewness at many grid points. Some of the large skewness values are related to the problems in MISR’s retrieval algorithm. For example, the positive skewness in AOT for strongly absorbing aerosols at mid- and high latitudes in winter results from few outlier values is due to cloud contamination over a wide area. Combined AOT for multiple MISR aerosol types is comparable to the AOT for carbonaceous, sulfate aerosols and dust particles from the NICAM simulation implemented with aerosol transport processes. NICAM’s carbonaceous aerosols in the Southwest Africa show good agreement with MISR’s strongly absorbing aerosols. The AOT of dust particles in MISR and NICAM exhibit similar spatial patterns over the Sahara desert. The AOT of nonabsorbing aerosols in MISR well represents spatial distributions of the sulfate aerosols originating from industrial complex over the Shandong Peninsula in China. Our results indicate that MISR’s AOT for each aerosol type may be useful for monitoring biomass burning, dust storms and air pollution and evaluating chemistry climate models.