Fine resolution air quality monitoring from a small satellite: CHRIS/PROBA

Janet Elizabeth Nichol, Man Sing Wong, Yuk Ying Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Current remote sensing techniques fail to address the task of air quality monitoring over complex regions where multiple pollution sources produce high spatial variability. This is due to a lack of suitable satellite-sensor combinations and appropriate aerosol optical thickness (AOT) retrieval algorithms. The new generation of small satellites, with their lower costs and greater flexibility has the potential to address this problem, with customised platform-sensor combinations dedicated to monitoring single complex regions or mega-cities. This paper demonstrates the ability of the European Space Agency's small satellite sensor CHRIS/PROBA to provide reliable AOT estimates at a spatially detailed level over Hong Kong, using a modified version of the dense dark vegetation (DDV) algorithm devised for MODIS. Since CHRIS has no middle-IR band such as the MODIS 2, 100 nm band which is transparent to fine aerosols, the longest waveband of CHRIS, the 1, 019 nm band was used to approximate surface reflectance, by the subtraction of an offset derived from synchronous field reflectance spectra. Aerosol reflectance in the blue and red bands was then obtained from the strong empirical relationship observed between the CHRIS 1,019 nm, and the blue and red bands respectively. AOT retrievals for three different dates were shown to be reliable, when compared with AERONET and Microtops II sunphotometers, and a Lidar, as well as air quality data at ground stations. The AOT images exhibited considerable spatial variability over the 11 × 11km image area and were able to indicate both local and long distance sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7581-7595
Number of pages15
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008


  • Aerosol
  • Surface reflectance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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