Zhdanova, EY; Chubarova, NY; Lyapustin, AI (2020). Assessment of urban aerosol pollution over the Moscow megacity by the MAIAC aerosol product. ATMOSPHERIC MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES, 13(2), 877-891.

We estimated the distribution of aerosol optical thickness (AOT) with a spatial resolution of 1 km over the Moscow megacity using the MAIAC aerosol product based on MODIS satellite data (Lyapustin et al., 2018) for the warm period of the year (May-September, 2001-2017). AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network)-based validation of satellite estimates near the city centre at Moscow_MSU_MO and over the Moscow suburbs at Zvenigorod revealed that MAIAC AOT at 0.47 mu m is in agreement with AERONET AOT though underestimated by 0.05-0.1 for AOT < 1 and overestimated for smoke conditions with AOT > 1. The MAIAC AOT biases were almost the same for the Moscow_MSU_MO and Zvenigorod AERONET sites, which indicated that the MAIAC algorithm effectively removed the effect of the bright urban surface in the city centre. For the ground-based measurements, the difference between annual median AOT at Moscow_MO_MSU and Zvenigorod (Delta AOT) varied within -0.002 to +0.03, with statistically significant positive bias for most years, and an average Delta AOT was about 0.02. According to the MAIAC dataset, the Delta AOT varied within +/- 0.01 and was not statistically significant. The Delta AOT started decreasing recently due to intensive urban development of the territory around Zvenigorod and the decrease in pollutant emissions in Moscow, which is mainly caused by the environmental regulations. According to the MAIAC dataset, the most pronounced spatial AOT differences over the territory of Moscow were observed at the 5% quantile level, where they reached 0.05-0.06 over several locations and could be attributed to the stationary sources of aerosol pollution, for example, large areas of construction sites, aerosol pollution from roads and highways, or agriculture activities. The differences between the maximum and the mean AOT for different quantiles, except the 95% quantile, within the Moscow region, were about 0.02-0.04, which could be attributed to the local aerosol sources. The application of the MAIAC algorithm over the whole Moscow region has revealed a decreasing AOT trend over the centre of Moscow and an increasing trend over the "New" Moscow territory which experienced an intensive build-up and agricultural development.