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Strategy for studying nocturnal aerosol optical depth using artificial lights

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In this concept study, we develop a strategy for the monitoring of nighttime aerosol particle optical properties over land using artificial lights on the earth's surface. We demonstrate the possibility of detecting significant aerosol events and deriving variations in aerosol optical depth using the operational linescan system (OLS) on defence meteorological satellite program (DMSP) platforms. Since the OLS instruments have no on-board calibration, only a qualitative study of the potential to estimate aerosol and cloud properties using city lights at night is shown in this paper. The technique is demonstrated using China and India as test regions. With the launch of the visible/infrared imager/radiometer suite (VIIRS) instrument on the national polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system (NPOESS) in the coming decade, fully quantitative retrieval of nighttime aerosol particle optical properties from space observations using such methods will become possible. Such work will benefit aerosol forecasting, safety of navigation, aerosol data assimilation and climate studies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of North Dakota, Grand Folks, ND, USA 2: Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA, USA 3: CIRA/Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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