First validation of GOME-2/MetOp absorbing aerosol height using EARLINET lidar observations

Michailidis, K., Koukouli, M.-E., Siomos, N., Balis, D., Tuinder, O., Tilstra, L. G., Mona, L., Pappalardo, G., and Bortoli, D.

The aim of this study is to investigate the potential of the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 (GOME-2) instruments, aboard the Meteorological Operational (MetOp)-A, MetOp-B and MetOp-C satellite programme platforms, to deliver accurate geometrical features of lofted aerosol layers. For this purpose, we use archived ground-based lidar data from stations available from the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET) database. The data are post-processed using the wavelet covariance transform (WCT) method in order to extract geometrical features such as the planetary boundary layer (PBL) height and the cloud boundaries. To obtain a significant number of collocated and coincident GOME-2 – EARLINET cases for the period between January 2007 and September 2019, 13 lidar stations, distributed over different European latitudes, contributed to this validation. For the 172 carefully screened collocations, the mean bias was found to be 0.18 ± 1.68 km, with a near-Gaussian distribution. On a station basis, and with a couple of exceptions where very few collocations were found, their mean biases fall in the ± 1 km range with an associated standard deviation between 0.5 and 1.5 km. Considering the differences, mainly due to the temporal collocation and the difference, between the satellite pixel size and the point view of the ground-based observations, these results can be quite promising and demonstrate that stable and extended aerosol layers as captured by the satellite sensors are verified by the ground-based data. We further present an in-depth analysis of a strong and long-lasting Saharan dust intrusion over the Iberian Peninsula. We show that, for this well-developed and spatially well-spread aerosol layer, most GOME-2 retrievals fall within 1 km of the exact temporally collocated lidar observation for the entire range of 0 to 150 km radii. This finding further testifies for the capabilities of the MetOp-borne instruments to sense the atmospheric aerosol layer heights. Read the full article.