Sawyer, V; Levy, RC; Mattoo, S; Cureton, G; Shi, YX; Remer, LA (2020). Continuing the MODIS Dark Target Aerosol Time Series with VIIRS. REMOTE SENSING, 12(2), 308.

For reflected sunlight observed from space at visible and near-infrared wavelengths, particles suspended in Earth's atmosphere provide contrast with vegetation or dark water at the surface. This is the physical motivation for the Dark Target (DT) aerosol retrieval algorithm developed for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). To extend the data record of aerosol optical depth (AOD) beyond the expected 20-year lifespan of the MODIS sensors, DT must be adapted for other sensors. A version of the DT AOD retrieval for the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi-National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (SNPP) is now mature enough to be released as a standard data product, and includes some upgraded features from the MODIS version. Differences between MODIS Aqua and VIIRS SNPP lead to some inevitable disagreement between their respective AOD measurements, but the offset between the VIIRS SNPP and MODIS Aqua records is smaller than the offset between those of MODIS Aqua and MODIS Terra. The VIIRS SNPP retrieval shows good agreement with ground-based measurements. For most purposes, DT for VIIRS SNPP is consistent enough and in close enough agreement with MODIS to continue the record of satellite AOD. The reasons for the offset from MODIS Aqua, and its spatial and temporal variability, are investigated in this study.