Aerosol altitude is one of the key parameters required to better assess the radiative effects of aerosols, as it is critical for determining the vertical structure of radiation field. In particular, absorbing aerosols can change the atmospheric heating rate, which in turn modulates the lifecycle of adjacent clouds and atmospheric stability. The height information can also be indicative of long-range transport of aerosols, due to the increased residence time and high wind speed in the free troposphere as compared to those within the planetary boundary layer. In addition, it has implications for air quality monitoring as aerosols at different altitudes can affect different targets, i.e., public health in the lower troposphere and air traffic in the upper troposphere. In this talk, we will present recent improvements made to a satellite algorithm, called Aerosol Single-scattering albedo and Height Estimation (ASHE), which can retrieve the height of UV-absorbing aerosols, such as biomass burning smoke and mineral dust, by synergistic use of multiple satellite sensors. The present algorithm utilizes aerosol products from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS), and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) to provide the height information over a broad area for moderate to thick aerosol layers (aerosol optical depth as low as 0.3). A methodology how we extend the algorithm to nonspherical dust aerosols, case studies for both smoke and dust aerosols, and validation of the retrieval product will be discussed.
Seminar Series Coordinators