Monitoring Pollution below the Clouds from Space

Improving aerosol distributions below clouds by assimilating satellite-retrieved cloud droplet number (Abstract, Pablo E. Saide, Gregory R. Carmichael, Scott N. Spak, Patrick Minnis, and J. Kirk Ayers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), Jul. 9, 2012)

Also discussed here: Researchers Develop Technique to Help Pollution Forecasters See Past Clouds (ScienceDaily, Jul. 10, 2012)

Today we review research aimed at deducing how much particulate pollution exists below clouds, as observed by satellites which normally have their air quality sensors blocked by the opaqueness of the clouds. The technique is based on comparing the number of droplets observed in a region which does not have particulates with one that does and then accounting for the difference. If applied and found successful, this would overcome one of the main difficulties in monitoring particulates near the ground from space.

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