Updated algorithms improve aerosol detection accuracy



[1] The direct and indirect effects of airborne particles remain among the greatest sources of uncertainty in scientists' understanding of climate change. NASA's Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) has nine cameras that image Earth over a range of viewing angles, each in four wavelength bands, providing global observations of atmospheric aerosols aimed at eliminating some of this uncertainty. But like all orbiting observatories, MISR detectors are unable to be adjusted or improved after launch. Fortunately, the instrument, in a polar obit aboard NASA's Terra satellite, provides only the first link in the data production chain, leaving retrieval algorithms to do the heavy lifting of converting raw data into useful representations of aerosol properties. MISR's algorithms work by finding good matches between the observed radiances and ones simulated for multiple, predefined aerosol types, spanning a range of particle sizes, shapes, brightnesses, and amounts. (Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, doi:10.1029/2010JD014601, 2010)