Monitoring of urban air pollution from MODIS aerosol data: effect of meteorological parameters

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Zha, Yong ; Gao, Jay ; Jiang, Jianjun ; Lu, Heng ; Huang, Jiazhu (2011)

Remote sensors designed specifically for studying the atmosphere have been widely used to derive timely information on air pollution at various scales. Whether the satellite-generated aerosol optical thickness (AOT) data can be used to monitor air pollution, however, is subject to the effect of a number of meteorological parameters. This study analyses the influence of four meteorological parameters (air pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, and wind velocity) on estimating particulate matter (PM) from MODIS AOT data for the city of Nanjing, China during 2004–2006. After the PM data were correlated with the AOT data that had been divided into four chronological seasons, a minimum correlation coefficient of 0.47 was found for the winter season, but a much stronger correlation (r > 0.80) existed in summer and autumn. Similar analyses were carried out after all observations were clustered into four groups based on their meteorological similarity using the K-Means analysis. Grouping caused more observations to be useable in the monitoring of air pollution than season-based analysis. Of the four groups, three had a correlation coefficient higher than 0.60. Grouping-based analysis enables the pollution level to be determined more accurately from MODIS AOT data at a higher temperature and relative humidity, but a lower air pressure and wind velocity. The accuracy of monitoring air pollution is inversely related to the pollution level. Thus, remote sensing monitoring of air pollution has its limits.DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0889.2010.00451.x
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