The purpose of this study is to investigate the ability of the Sentinel-5P TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) to derive accurate geometrical features of lofted aerosol layers, selecting the Mediterranean Basin as the study area. Comparisons with ground-based correlative measurements constitute a key component in the validation of passive and active satellite aerosol products. For this purpose, we use ground-based observations from quality-controlled lidar stations reporting to the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET). An optimal methodology for validation purposes has been developed and applied using the EARLINET optical profiles and TROPOMI aerosol products, aiming at the in-depth evaluation of the TROPOMI aerosol layer height (ALH) product for the period 2018 to 2022 over the Mediterranean Basin. Seven EARLINET stations were chosen, taking into consideration their proximity to the sea, which provided 63 coincident aerosol cases for the satellite retrievals. In the following, we present the first validation results for the TROPOMI/S5P ALH using the optimized EARLINET lidar products employing the automated validation chain designed for this purpose. The quantitative validation at pixels over the selected EARLINET stations illustrates that the TROPOMI ALH product is consistent with the EARLINET lidar products, with a high correlation coefficient R=0.82 (R=0.51) and a mean bias of -0.51±0.77 km and 2.27±1.17km over ocean and land, respectively. Overall, it appears that aerosol layer altitudes retrieved from TROPOMI are systematically lower than altitudes from the lidar retrievals. High-albedo scenes, as well as low-aerosol-load scenes, are the most challenging for the TROPOMI retrieval algorithm, and these results testify to the need to further investigate the underlying cause. This work provides a clear indication that the TROPOMI ALH product can under certain conditions achieve the required threshold accuracy and precision requirements of 1 km, especially when only ocean pixels are included in the comparison analysis. Furthermore, we describe and analyse three case studies in detail, one dust and two smoke episodes, in order to illustrate the strengths and limitations of the TROPOMI ALH product and demonstrate the presented validation methodology. The present analysis provides important additions to the existing validation studies that have been performed so far for the TROPOMI S5P ALH product, which were based only on satellite-to-satellite comparisons.
Konstantinos Michailidis, Maria-Elissavet Koukouli, Dimitris Balis, J. Pepijn Veefkind, Martin de Graaf, Lucia Mona, Nikolaos Papagianopoulos, Gesolmina Pappalardo, Ioanna Tsikoudi, Vassilis Amiridis, Eleni Marinou, Anna Gialitaki, Rodanthi-Elisavet Mamouri, Argyro Nisantzi, Daniele Bortoli, Maria João Costa, Vanda Salgueiro, Alexandros Papayannis, Maria Mylonaki, Lucas Alados-Arboledas, Salvatore Romano, Maria Rita Perrone, and Holger Baars. Validation of the TROPOMI/S5P aerosol layer height using EARLINET lidars
Journal: ACP, Volume: 23, Year: 2023, First page: 1919, Last page: 1940, doi: 10.5194/acp-23-1919-2023