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Is It Possible to Distinguish Between Dust and Salt Aerosol Over Waters with Unknown Chlorophyll Concentrations Using Spectral Remote Sensing?Atmospheric aerosol has uncertain impacts on the global climate system, as well as on atmospheric and bio-geo-chemical processes of regional and local scales. EOS-MODIS is one example of a satellite sensor designed to improve understanding of the aerosols' type, size and distribution at all temporal and spatial scales. Ocean scientists also plan to use data from EOS-MODIS to assess the temporal and spatial coverage of in-water chlorophyll. MODIS is the first sensor planned to observe the combined ocean-atmosphere system with a wide spectral range (from 410 to 2200 nm). Dust aerosol and salt aerosol have similar spectral signals for wavelengths longer than 550 nm, but because dust selectively absorbs blue light, they have divergent signals in the blue wavelength regions (412 to 490 nm). Chlorophyll also selectively absorbs blue radiation, so that varying chlorophyll concentrations produces a highly varying signal in the blue regions, but less variability in the green, and almost no signal in the red to mid-infrared regions. Thus, theoretically, it may be difficult to differentiate dust and salt in the presence of unknown chlorophyll in the ocean. This study attempts to address the cases in which aerosol and chlorophyll signals can and cannot be separated. For the aerosol spectra, we use the aerosol lookup table from the operational MODIS aerosol-over-ocean algorithm, and for chlorophyll spectra, we use the SeaBAM data set (created for SeaWiFS). We compare the signals using Principal Component Analysis and attempt to retrieve both chlorophyll and aerosol properties using a variant of the operational MODIS aerosol-over-ocean algorithm. Results show that for small optical depths, less than 0.5, it is not possible to differentiate between dust and salt and to determine the chlorophyll concentration at the same time. For larger aerosol optical depths, the chlorophyll signals are comparatively insignificant, and we can hope to distinguish between dust and salt.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Levy, R. C.
(SSA United States)
Kaufman, Y. J.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Subject Category
Earth Resources And Remote Sensing
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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