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Mapping the aerodynamic roughness length of desert surfaces from the POLDER/ADEOS bi-directional reflectance product

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Surface roughness is a key parameter for computing the emissions and for simulating the atmospheric cycle of mineral dust. However its assessment on the basis of field measurements from source areas scattered round the globe requires much effort. Here we investigate the retrieval of the aerodynamic roughness length of arid areas using surface bi-directional reflectance products derived from passive multi-directional measurements in the solar spectrum of the POlarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectances (POLDER) sensor. The so-called protrusion coefficient (PC) of the surface derived from the POLDER bi-directional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) is well suited to estimate surface roughness. From an appropriate selection of POLDER data, a composite PC dataset has been established over the Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula. We have investigated the relationship between aerodynamic roughness length and PC, and have derived a statistically significant empirical relationship between these two parameters. This relationship is applied to the POLDER-derived PC to map the aerodynamic roughness length of arid areas in northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula at the spatial resolution of POLDER (∼1/16°). When degrading these data for global models, we show that the information is essentially preserved at coarser resolutions up to ¼°. This map of roughness length derived from the POLDER instrument, and a corresponding map derived from a geomorphologic classification, have been tested by comparing the predicted dust event frequencies obtained using them to dust indices (IDDI) derived from Meteosat IR observations over the Sahara desert. The agreement using the POLDER derived roughness length is at least as good as using the map of roughness length derived from the geomorphologic approach. Our results show promising new prospects for regional and global scale simulations of mineral dust emissions from arid regions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques Universités Paris VII-XII UMR CNRS 7583 Créteil France 2: Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique UMR CNRS 1572 Saclay France 3: Laboratoire d'Optique Atmosphérique Université de Lille-1 UMR CNRS 8518 Villeneuve d'Ascq France

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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