Satellite perspective of aerosol intercontinental transport: from qualitative...

Yu, H., L. Remer, R. Kahn, M. Chin, and Y. Zhang (2013), Satellite perspective of aerosol intercontinental transport: from qualitative tracking to quantitative characterization, Atmos. Res., 124, 73-100, doi:10.1016/j.atmosres.2012.12.013.
Abstract: 

Evidence of aerosol intercontinental transport (ICT) is both widespread and compelling. Model simulations suggest that ICT could significantly affect regional air quality and climate, but the broad inter-model spread of results underscores a need of constraining model simulations with measurements. Satellites have inherent advantages over in situ measurements to characterize aerosol ICT, because of their spatial and temporal coverage. Significant progress in satellite remote sensing of aerosol properties during the Earth Observing System(EOS) era offers the opportunity to increase quantitative characterization and estimates of aerosol ICT beyond the capability of pre-EOS era satellites that could only qualitatively track aerosol plumes. EOS satellites also observe emission strengths and injection heights of some aerosols, aerosol precursors, and aerosol-related gases, which can help characterize aerosol ICT. We review how the current generation of satellite measurements have been used to (1) characterize the evolution of aerosol plumes (e.g., both horizontal and vertical transport, and properties) on an episodic basis, (2) understand the seasonal and inter-annual variations of aerosol ICT and their control factors, (3) estimate the export and import fluxes of aerosols, and (4) evaluate and constrain model simulations. Substantial effort is needed to further explore an integrated approach using measurements from on-orbit satellites (e.g., A-Train synergy) for observational characterization and model constraint of aerosol intercontinental transport and to develop advanced sensors for future missions.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Radiation Science Program (RSP)