Analysis of linear long-term trend of aerosol optical thickness derived from SeaWiFS using BAER over Europe and South China
The main purposes of the present paper are not only to investigate linear long-term trends of Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT) at 443 and 555 nm over regions in Europe and South China, but also to show the uncertainty caused by cloud disturbance in the trend analysis of cloud-free aerosol. These research areas are the densely urbanised and often highly polluted regions. The study uses the Bremen AErosol Retrieval (BAER) and Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) data for AOT retrievals in the specified regions from October 1997 to May 2008. In order to validate the individually retrieved AOTs and the corresponding trends, AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) level 2.0 data have been used. The retrieved AOTs were in good agreement with those of AERONET (0.79 ≤ R ≤ 0.88, 0.08 ≤ RMSD ≤ 0.13). The contamination of the aerosol retrievals and/or AERONET observations by thin clouds can significantly degrade the AOT and lead to statistically non-representative monthly-means, especially during cloudy seasons. Therefore an inter-correction method has been developed and applied. The "corrected" trends for both BAER SeaWiFS and AERONET AOT were similar and showed in average a relative difference of ∼25.19%. In general terms, negative trends (decrease of aerosol loading) were mainly observed over European regions, with magnitudes up to-0.00453 and-0.00484 yr -1 at 443 and 555 nm, respectively. In contrast, the trend in Pearl River Delta was positive, most likely attributed to rapid urbanization and industrialization. The magnitudes of AOT increased by +0.00761 and +0.00625 yr -1 respectively at 443 and 555 nm. © 2011 Author(s).