Emili, E, Popp, C, Petitta, M, Riffler, M, Wunderle, S, Zebisch, M (2010). PM10 remote sensing from geostationary SEVIRI and polar-orbiting MODIS sensors over the complex terrain of the European Alpine region. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 114(11), 2485-2499.
The subject of this study is to investigate the capability of spaceborne remote sensing data to predict ground concentrations of PM10 over the European Alpine region using satellite derived Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) from the geostationary Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) and the polar-orbiting MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The spatial and temporal resolutions of these aerosol products (10 km and 2 measurements per day for MODIS, similar to 25 km and observation intervals of 15 min for SEVIRI) permit an evaluation of PM estimation from space at different spatial and temporal scales. Different empirical linear relationships between coincident AOD and PM10 observations are evaluated at 13 ground-based PM measurement sites, with the assumption that aerosols are vertically homogeneously distributed below the planetary Boundary Layer Height (BLH). The BLH and Relative Humidity (RH) variability are assessed, as well as their impact on the parameterization. The BLH has a strong influence on the correlation of daily and hourly time series, whilst RH effects are less clear and smaller in magnitude. Despite its lower spatial resolution and AOD accuracy, SEVIRI shows higher correlations than MODIS (r(SEV)similar to 0.7, r(MOD)similar to 0.6) with regard to daily averaged PM10. Advantages from MODIS arise only at hourly time scales in mountainous locations but lower correlations were found for both sensors at this time scale (r similar to 0.45). Moreover, the fraction of days in 2008 with at least one satellite observation was 27% for SEVIRI and 17% for MODIS. These results suggest that the frequency of observations plays an important role in PM monitoring, while higher spatial resolution does not generally improve the PM estimation. Ground-based Sun Photometer (SP) measurements are used to validate the satellite-based AOD in the study region and to discuss the impact of aerosols' micro-physical properties in the empirical models. A lower error limit of 30 to 60% in the PM10 assessment from space is estimated in the study area as a result of AOD uncertainties, variability of aerosols properties and the heterogeneity of ground measurement sites. It is concluded that SEVIRI has a similar capacity to map PM as sensors on board polar-orbiting platforms, with the advantage of a higher number of observations. However, the accuracy represents a serious limitation to the applicability of satellites for ground PM mapping, especially in mountainous areas. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.