Aerosol retrieval algorithms for the MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) have been developed to estimate aerosol and microphysical properties of the atmosphere, which help to address aerosol climatic issues at global scale. However, higher spatial resolution aerosol products for urban areas have not been well researched mainly due to the difficulty of differentiating aerosols from bright surfaces in urban areas. Here, a new aerosol retrieval algorithm using the MODIS 500 m resolution images is described, to retrieve aerosol properties over Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region. The rationale of our technique is to first estimate the aerosol reflectance by decomposing the top-of-atmosphere reflectance from surface reflectance and Rayleigh path reflectance. For the determination of surface reflectance, a modified Minimum Reflectance Technique (MRT) is used, and MRT images are computed for different seasons. A strong correlation is shown between the surface reflectance of MRT images and MODIS land surface reflectance products (MOD09), with a value of 0.9. For conversion of aerosol reflectance to Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT), comprehensive Look Up Tables (LUT) are constructed, in which aerosol properties and sun-viewing geometry in the radiative transfer calculations are taken into account. Four aerosol types, namely mixed urban, polluted urban, dust, and heavy pollution, were derived using cluster analysis on three years of AERONET measurements in Hong Kong. Their aerosol properties were input for LUT calculation. The resulting 500 m AOT images are highly correlated (r = 0.89) with AERONET sunphotometer observations in Hong Kong. This study demonstrates the applicability of aerosol retrieval at fine resolution scale in urban areas, which can assist the study of aerosol loading distribution and the impact of localized and transient pollution on urban air quality. In addition, the MODIS 500 m AOT images can be used to study cross-boundary aerosols and to locate pollutant sources in the Pearl River Delta region.
- Aerosol optical thickness
- Aerosol retrieval
- Satellite image
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)