Validation of MODIS, MISR, OMI, and CALIPSO aerosol optical thickness using ground-based sunphotometers in Hong Kong

Man Sing Wong, Muhammad I. Shahzad, Janet Elizabeth Nichol, Kwon Ho Lee, P. W. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Aerosol observations are essential for understanding the Earth's radiation budget and the complexities of climate change, as they are involved in the backscattering of solar radiation and the formation of cloud condensation nuclei. In Hong Kong, the most direct effect is on air quality. Atmospheric haze caused by the emission of aerosols from industrial and vehicular sources creates visibility lower than 8 km for approximately 20% of the time, having risen at 6% per decade since 1980, but regional emissions are at least as influential as local ones. The 179,000 km2covered by Hong Kong and neighbouring Guangdong Province cannot be adequately covered by the 76 monitoring stations set up by the two governments, and satellite images offer the only potential source of regional air quality data. However, the current satellite-based aerosol optical thickness (AOT) products are intended for global air quality monitoring, and may contain errors over a humid coastal city such as Hong Kong and its surrounding industrialized regions. This research compares the AOT retrieved from several AOT operational products, namely the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) MOD04 product, the MODIS 500 m product, the Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) product, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) multiwavelength aerosol product, and the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) product, with ground-based AOT from sunphotometers in Hong Kong. These sunphotometers include two AERONET stations, and are deployed in Hong Kong over urban, suburban, and coastal areas. The rigorous correlations, root mean square errors, and mean absolute differences available from the multilocational field data within one city region provide a strong base for validating the AOT products from different sensors and at different spatial scales over different land surface types. The results suggest that the AOT products, especially those from MODIS 10 km, provide reliable and accurate observations for daily air quality monitoring over a variety of land-cover types, as well as for identifying emission sources for coordinated actions by the governments of Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-918
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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