Bi, JZ; Belle, JH; Wang, YJ; Lyapustin, AI; Wildani, A; Liu, Y (2019). Impacts of snow and cloud covers on satellite-derived PM2.5 levels. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 221, 665-674.
Satellite aerosol optical depth (ADD) has been widely employed to evaluate ground fine particle (PM2.5) levels, whereas snow/cloud covers often lead to a large proportion of non-random missing AOD. As a result, the fully covered and unbiased PM2.5 estimates will be hard to generate. Among the current approaches to deal with the data gap issue, few have considered the cloud-AOD relationship and none of them have considered the snow-AOD relationship. This study examined the impacts of snow and cloud covers on AOD and PM2.5 and made full-coverage PM2.5 predictions with the consideration of these impacts. To estimate the missing AOD, daily gap-filling models with snow/cloud fractions and meteorological covariates were developed using the random forest algorithm. By using these models in New York State, a daily AOD data set with a 1-km resolution was generated with a complete coverage. The "out-of-bag" R-2 of the gap-filling models averaged 0.93 with an interquartile range from 0.90 to 0.95. Subsequently, a random forest-based PM2.5 prediction model with the gap-filled AOD and covariates was built to predict fully covered PM2.5 estimates. A ten-fold cross-validation for the prediction model showed a good performance with an R-2 of 0.82. In the gap-filling models, the snow fraction was of higher significance in the snow season compared with the rest of the year. The prediction models fitted with/without the snow fraction also suggested the discernible changes in PM2.5 patterns, further confirming the significance of this parameter. Compared with the methods without considering snow and cloud covers, our PM2.5 prediction surfaces showed more spatial details and reflected small-scale terrain-driven PM2.5 patterns. The proposed methods can be generalized to the areas with extensive snow/cloud covers and large proportions of missing satellite AOD for predicting PM2.5 levels with high resolutions and complete coverage.