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Article Dans Une Revue (Article De Synthèse) Remote Sensing Année : 2021

The Dark Target Algorithm for Observing the Global Aerosol System: Past, Present, and Future

Charles Ichoku
  • Fonction : Auteur


The Dark Target aerosol algorithm was developed to exploit the information content available from the observations of Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS), to better characterize the global aerosol system. The algorithm is based on measurements of the light scattered by aerosols toward a space-borne sensor against the backdrop of relatively dark Earth scenes, thus giving rise to the name “Dark Target”. Development required nearly a decade of research that included application of MODIS airborne simulators to provide test beds for proto-algorithms and analysis of existing data to form realistic assumptions to constrain surface reflectance and aerosol optical properties. This research in itself played a significant role in expanding our understanding of aerosol properties, even before Terra MODIS launch. Contributing to that understanding were the observations and retrievals of the growing Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) of sun-sky radiometers, which has walked hand-in-hand with MODIS and the development of other aerosol algorithms, providing validation of the satellite-retrieved products after launch. The MODIS Dark Target products prompted advances in Earth science and applications across subdisciplines such as climate, transport of aerosols, air quality, and data assimilation systems. Then, as the Terra and Aqua MODIS sensors aged, the challenge was to monitor the effects of calibration drifts on the aerosol products and to differentiate physical trends in the aerosol system from artefacts introduced by instrument characterization. Our intention is to continue to adapt and apply the well-vetted Dark Target algorithms to new instruments, including both polar-orbiting and geosynchronous sensors. The goal is to produce an uninterrupted time series of an aerosol climate data record that begins at the dawn of the 21st century and continues indefinitely into the future.
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hal-04462036 , version 1 (16-02-2024)




  • HAL Id : hal-04462036 , version 1


Lorraine A. Remer, Robert C. Levy, Shana Mattoo, Didier Tanre, Pawan Gupta, et al.. The Dark Target Algorithm for Observing the Global Aerosol System: Past, Present, and Future. Remote Sensing, 2021, Remote Sensing, 12. ⟨hal-04462036⟩
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