The Global Aerosol System as Viewed by MODIS Today

Dr. Lorraine Remer

When viewed from space the global aerosol system spreads out in its complexity and vitality from the dramatic outbursts of dust aerosol of the world's desert regions to the intense production from biomass burning and industrial sources. We have come a long ways in terms of what we can learn about this aerosol system using space-based sensors in general and MODIS specifically. We have quantitative estimates of aerosol transport across oceans, and estimates of aerosol global and regional radiative effects. MODIS data shows significant correlations between aerosol and cloud properties including cloud cover and intensity of convection. In addition, the EPA is using MODIS data operationally as part of their air quality forecasting products. The global aerosol system is fundamentally intertwined with the general circulation of the atmosphere, with cloud and precipitation patterns and with human health. It isn't just a radiative problem anymore. In this seminar I intend to focus on what's new with the MODIS aerosol algorithms, and what's new in how we are using the products to learn something more about our planet.