Satellite Aerosol Remote Sensing over Land

Part of the series Springer Praxis Books pp 267-293

Retrieval of aerosol properties over land using MISR observations

  • John V. MartonchikAffiliated withJet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • , Ralph A. KahnAffiliated withNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • , David J. DinerAffiliated withJet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

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Global and regional mapping of aerosol properties, including column amount, particle type and effective size, is of great interest for environmental and climate studies. Increased aerosol production results in decreased insolation (a direct aerosol effect), mitigating the rise in global surface air temperature caused by enhanced concentrations of greenhouse gases, though on different spatial and temporal scales [Charlson et al., 1992; Kiehl and Briegleb, 1993; Andreae, 1995]. Indirect aerosol effects include an alteration of cloud particle properties (size, single scattering albedo) that can modify cloud scattering properties, lifetimes, and precipitation amount. Although oceans cover the majority of the Earth’s surface, land areas are the source of most aerosols and essentially all anthropogenic production. As a consequence, there is a tendency to find the largest aerosol optical depth values over land and coastal ocean. Monitoring of these vast areas on a frequent, global basis can be effectively accomplished only by means of space-based instruments. However, land and coastal waters generally have complex, heterogeneous, and a priori unknown surface reflectance characteristics, making the retrieval of aerosol properties in these locations particularly troublesome. The problem stems from the fact that the radiance measured at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) is a mixture of two components — radiance scattered solely by the atmosphere and radiance produced by multiple surface-atmosphere scattering interactions which is eventually transmitted up through the atmosphere to space. The successful retrieval process must be able to separate and explicitly describe these two radiance components, resulting in a determination of both the aerosol properties and the surface reflectance characteristics.