Retrieval of aerosol optical thickness for desert conditions using MERIS observations during the SAMUM campaign
Von Hoyningen-Huene, Wolfgang
Burrows, John P.
Approximately 30% of the land surface is arid, having desert or semi-desert conditions. Aerosol originating from these regions plays a significant role in climate and atmospheric chemistry of the atmosphere. Retrieving aerosol properties from space-borne platforms above desert conditions, where the surface reflectance is usually very bright, is a challenging task. The proportion of the surface to top of atmosphere (TOA) reflectance can reach values over 90%, especially for wavelength above 500 nm. For these reasons detailed knowledge of aerosol and surface optical properties from these regions is required to separate atmosphere from intrinsically bright surfaces. An approach to retrieve aerosol properties over arid and semi-arid regions based on the Bremen Aerosol Retrieval (BAER) has been developed and validated within the Dust Aerosol Retrievals from Space-Born Instruments (DREAMS) Project, which is part of the Saharan Mineral Dust Experiment (SAMUM, 2006). Combining measurements of the backscattered radiation from the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument aboard Environmental Satellite (ENVISAT) and ground-based measurements in Morocco in radiation closure experiments yields the aerosol optical properties of mineral dust at selected locations.