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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: In 2010, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP) performed several aerial surveys over the region affected by the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore platform. The instrument was deployed on the NASA Langley B200 aircraft together with the High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL), which provides information on the distribution of the aerosol layers beneath the aircraft, including an accurate estimate of aerosol optical depth. This work illustrates the merits of polarization measurements in detecting variations of ocean surface properties linked to the presence of an oil slick. In particular, we make use of the degree of linear polarization in the glint region, which is severely affected by variations in the refractive index but insensitive to the waviness of the water surface. Alterations in the surface optical properties are therefore expected to directly affect the polarization response of the RSP channel at 2264 nm, where both molecular and aerosol scattering are negligible and virtually all of the observed signal is generated via Fresnel reflection at the surface. The glint profile at this wavelength is fitted with a model which can optimally estimate refractive index, wind speed and direction, together with aircraft attitude variations affecting the viewing geometry. The retrieved refractive index markedly increases over oil-contaminated waters, while the apparent wind speed is significantly lower than in adjacent uncontaminated areas, suggesting that the slick dampens high-frequency components of the ocean wave spectrum. The constraint on surface reflectance provided by the short-wave infrared channels is a cornerstone of established procedures to retrieve atmospheric aerosol microphysical parameters based on the inversion of the RSP multispectral measurements. This retrieval, which benefits from the ancillary information provided by the HSRL, was in this specific case hampered by prohibitive variability in atmospheric conditions (very inhomogeneous aerosol distribution and cloud cover). Although the results presented for the surface are essentially unaffected, we discuss the results obtained by typing algorithms in sorting the complex mix of aerosol types, and show evidence of oriented ice in cirrus clouds present in the area. In this context, polarization measurements at 1880 nm were used to infer ice habit and cirrus optical depth, which was found in the subvisual/threshold-visible regime, confirming the utility of the aforementioned RSP channel for the remote sensing of even thin cold clouds.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing; Environment Pollution
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN8853 , Remote Sensing of Environment; 121; 389-403
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We report the results of high-accuracy controlled laboratory measurements of the Stokes reflection matrix for suspensions of submicrometer-sized latex particles in water and compare them with the results of a numerically exact computer solution of the vector radiative transfer equation (VRTE). The quantitative performance of the VRTE is monitored by increasing the volume packing density of the latex particles from 2 to 10. Our results indicate that the VRTE can be applied safely to random particulate media with packing densities up to 2. VRTE results for packing densities of the order of 5 should be taken with caution, whereas the polarized bidirectional reflectivity of suspensions with larger packing densities cannot be accurately predicted. We demonstrate that a simple modification of the phase matrix entering the VRTE based on the so-called static structure factor can be a promising remedy that deserves further examination.
    Keywords: Optics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN10404 , Optics Letters; 38; 18; 3522-3525
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: We illustrate our methods on examples from the recent NASA's field campaigns POlarimeter Definition EXperiment (PODEX, based in Palmdale, California, January - February 2013) and Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS, based in Houston, Texas in August - September 2013). During these campaigns the RSP was onboard the NASA's long-range high-altitude ER-2 aircraft together with an array of other remote sensing instrumentation. Correlative sampling measurements from another aircraft were also available. The data obtained during these campaigns provides an excellent opportunity to study cloud properties in variety of locations and atmospheric conditions. We present examples of boundary layer cumulus and stratocumulus clouds, liquid altostratus clouds, and fogs. In the latter two cases the droplet size distribution derived from RFT analysis exhibited multiple modes corresponding to different cloud layers, as supported by the correlative lidar atmospheric profiles.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology; Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN16872
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: For remote sensing of aerosol over the ocean, there is a contribution from light scattered underwater. The brightness and spectrum of this light depends on the biomass content of the ocean, such that variations in the color of the ocean can be observed even from space. Rayleigh scattering by pure sea water, and Rayleigh-Gans type scattering by plankton, causes this light to be polarized with a distinctive angular distribution. To study the contribution of this underwater light polarization to multiangle, multispectral observations of polarized reflectance over ocean, we previously developed a hydrosol model for use in underwater light scattering computations that produces realistic variations of the ocean color and the underwater light polarization signature of pure sea water. In this work we review this hydrosol model, include a correction for the spectrum of the particulate scattering coefficient and backscattering efficiency, and discuss its sensitivity to variations in colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and in the scattering function of marine particulates. We then apply this model to measurements of total and polarized reflectance that were acquired over open ocean during the MILAGRO field campaign by the airborne Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP). Analyses show that our hydrosol model faithfully reproduces the water-leaving contributions to RSP reflectance, and that the sensitivity of these contributions to Chlorophyll a concentration [Chl] in the ocean varies with the azimuth, height, and wavelength of observations. We also show that the impact of variations in CDOM on the polarized reflectance observed by the RSP at low altitude is comparable to or much less than the standard error of this reflectance whereas their effects in total reflectance may be substantial (i.e. up to 〉30%). Finally, we extend our study of polarized reflectance variations with [Chl] and CDOM to include results for simulated spaceborne observations.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC.JA.5998.2012 , Remote Sensing of Environment; 118; 284-308
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Remote sensing of aerosol optical properties is difficult, but multi-angle, multi-spectral, polarimetric instruments have the potential to retrieve sufficient information about aerosols that they can be used to improve global climate models. However, the complexity of these instruments means that it is difficult to intuitively understand the relationship between instrument design and retrieval success. We apply a Bayesian statistical technique that relates instrument characteristics to the information contained in an observation. Using realistic simulations of fine size mode dominated spherical aerosols, we investigate three instrument designs. Two of these represent instruments currently in orbit: the Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) and the POLarization and Directionality of the Earths Reflectances (POLDER). The third is the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS), which failed to reach orbit during recent launch, but represents a viable design for future instruments. The results show fundamental differences between the three, and offer suggestions for future instrument design and the optimal retrieval strategy for current instruments. Generally, our results agree with previous validation efforts of POLDER and airborne prototypes of APS, but show that the MISR aerosol optical thickness uncertainty characterization is possibly underestimated.
    Keywords: Optics
    Type: GSFC.JA.7129.2012 , Optics Express; 20; 19; 21457-21484
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We present retrievals of water cloud properties from the measurements made by the Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP) during the Polarimeter Definition Experiment (PODEX) held between January 14 and February 6, 2013. The RSP was onboard the high-altitude NASA ER-2 aircraft based at NASA Dryden Aircraft Operation Facility in Palmdale, California. The retrieved cloud characteristics include cloud optical thickness, effective radius and variance of cloud droplet size distribution derived using a parameter-fitting technique, as well as the complete droplet size distribution function obtained by means of Rainbow Fourier Transform. Multi-modal size distributions are decomposed into several modes and the respective effective radii and variances are computed. The methodology used to produce the retrieval dataset is illustrated on the examples of a marine stratocumulus deck off California coast and stratus/fog over California's Central Valley. In the latter case the observed bimodal droplet size distributions were attributed to two-layer cloud structure. All retrieval data are available online from NASA GISS website.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology; Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN21360 , Remote Sensing of Environment; 169; 20–36
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: In this study, we present a radiative transfer model, so-called OSOAA, that is able to predict the radiance and degree of polarization within the coupled atmosphere-ocean system in the presence of a rough sea surface. The OSOAA model solves the radiative transfer equation using the successive orders of scattering method. Comparisons with another operational radiative transfer model showed a satisfactory agreement within 0.8%. The OSOAA model has been designed with a graphical user interface to make it user friendly for the community. The radiance and degree of polarization are provided at any level, from the top of atmosphere to the ocean bottom. An application of the OSOAA model is carried out to quantify the directional variations of the water leaving reflectance and degree of polarization for phytoplankton and mineral-like dominated waters. The difference between the water leaving reflectance at a given geometry and that obtained for the nadir direction could reach 40%, thus questioning the Lambertian assumption of the sea surface that is used by inverse satellite algorithms dedicated to multi-angular sensors. It is shown as well that the directional features of the water leaving reflectance are weakly dependent on wind speed. The quantification of the directional variations of the water leaving reflectance obtained in this study should help to correctly exploit the satellite data that will be acquired by the current or forthcoming multi-angular satellite sensors.
    Keywords: Oceanography
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN27738 , Optics Express; 23; 21; 27829-27852
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Remote sensing has mainly relied on measurements of scalar radiance and its spectral and angular features to retrieve micro- and macro-physical properties of aerosols/hydrosols. However, it is recognized that measurements that include the polarimetric characteristics of light provide more intrinsic information about particulate scattering. To take advantage of this, we used vector radiative transfer (VRT) simulations and developed an analytical relationship to retrieve the macro and micro-physical properties of the oceanic hydrosols. Specifically, we investigated the relationship between the observed degree of linear polarization (DoLP) and the ratio of attenuation-to- absorption coefficients (c/a) in water, from which the scattering coefficient can be readily computed (b equals c minus a), after retrieving a. This relationship was parameterized for various scattering geometries, including sensor zenith/azimuth angles relative to the Sun's principal plane, and for varying Sun zenith angles. An inversion method was also developed for the retrieval of the microphysical properties of hydrosols, such as the bulk refractive index and the particle size distribution. The DoLP vs c/a relationship was tested and validated against in-situ measurements of underwater light polarization obtained by a custom-built polarimeter and measurements of the coefficients a and c, obtained using an in-water WET (Western Environmental Technologies) Labs ac-s (attenuation coefficients In-Situ Spectrophotometer) instrument package. These measurements confirmed the validity of the approach, with retrievals of attenuation coefficients showing a high coefficient of determination depending on the wavelength. We also performed a sensitivity analysis of the DoLP at the Top of Atmosphere (TOA) over coastal waters showing the possibility of polarimetric remote sensing application for ocean color.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing; Oceanography
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN36141 , Remote Sensing of Environment (ISSN 0034-4257); 186; 548-566
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The physical and chemical properties of soil dust aerosol particles fundamentally affect their interaction with climate, including shortwave absorption and radiative forcing, nucleation of cloud droplets and ice crystals, heterogeneous formation of sulfates and nitrates on the surface of dust particles, and atmospheric processing of iron into bioavailable forms that increase the productivity of marine phytoplankton. Lidar measurements, such as extinction-to-backscatter, color and depolarization ratios, are frequently used to distinguish between aerosol types with different physical and chemical properties. The chemical composition of aerosol particles determines their complex refractive index, hence affecting their backscattering properties. Here we present a study on how dust aerosol backscattering and depolarization properties at wavelengths of 355, 532 and 1064 nm are related to size and complex refractive index, which varies with the mineral composition of the dust. Dust aerosols are represented by collections of spheroids with a range of prolate and oblate aspect ratios and their optical properties are obtained using T-matrix calculations. We find simple, systematic relationships between lidar observables and the dust size and complex refractive index that may aid the use of space-based or airborne lidars for direct retrieval of dust properties or for the evaluation of chemical transport models using forward simulated lidar variables. In addition, we present first results on the spatial variation of forward-simulated lidar variables based on a dust model that accounts for the atmospheric cycle of eight different mineral types plus internal mixtures of seven mineral types with iron oxides, which was recently implemented in the NASA GISS Earth System ModelE2.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN28739 , AGU Fall Meeting; 14-18 Dec. 2015; San Francisco, CA; United States
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The ObseRvations of Aerosols above Clouds and their interactions (ORACLES) project is making a series of field deployments to the southeastern Atlantic with NASA ER-2 and P3 aircraft to acquire both detailed remote sensing observations and in situ measurements of the aerosols and clouds in that region. This area is home to one of the largest low-level cloud decks on Earth that is seasonally affected by vast plumes of smoke from biomass burning, which in effect provides a natural experiment testing the radiative and microphysical interactions between the smoke and the clouds. The downward solar radiation at the surface, or cloud top, is always reduced by the presence of smoke. However, whether the amount of sunlight reflected back out to space is increased, or decreased by the presence of smoke is sensitively dependent on the brightness of the clouds and the fraction of light that the smoke absorbs each time light hits a smoke particle. In this study we use data from the Research Scanning Polarimeter, an along track scanning instrument, that provides measurements of the Stokes parameters I, Q and U at 410, 470, 555, 670, 865, 960, 1590, 1880 and 2260 nm at 150 viewing angles over a range of +/- 60 from nadir for each contiguous sub-aircraft pixel (~ 300 m in size). A retrieval algorithm is applied to the data acquired with a table look up technique, similar to that of the operational POLDER algorithm, to provide a first guess of the complex refractive index, optical depth and size distribution of the smoke particles together with cloud droplet size and optical depth. A subsequent iterative fitting procedure, where the fact that the doubling/adding method allows the construction of the Green's function for the radiative transfer equation, is used to obtain an efficient and statistically optimal estimate of the aerosol and cloud retrieval parameters. These retrieval parameters are evaluated against in situ observations, when available, and the optical depth and intensive lidar variables that are measured by the High Spectral Resolution Lidar 2. Finally, the aerosol and cloud retrievals are used to evaluate the variations in top of the atmosphere, surface/cloud top shortwave radiative forcing and atmospheric absorption that are caused by variations in the smoke and clouds.
    Keywords: Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
    Type: A11C-1897 , GSFC-E-DAA-TN50461 , American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting; 11-15 Dec. 2017; New Orleans, LA; United States
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