Remote sensing of smoke, land, and clouds from the NASA ER-2 during SAFARI 2000

King, M. D., S. Platnick, C. C. Moeller, H. Revercomb, and D. A. Chu (2003), Remote sensing of smoke, land, and clouds from the NASA ER-2 during SAFARI 2000, J. Geophys. Res., 108, 8502, doi:10.1029/2002JD003207.

The NASA ER-2 aircraft was deployed to southern Africa between 13 August and 25 September 2000 as part of the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI) 2000. This aircraft carried a sophisticated array of multispectral scanners, multiangle spectroradiometers, a monostatic lidar, a gas correlation radiometer, upward and downward spectral flux radiometers, and two metric mapping cameras. These observations were obtained over a 3200 Â 2800 km region of savanna, woody savanna, open shrubland, and grassland ecosystems throughout southern Africa and were quite often coordinated with overflights by NASA’s Terra and Landsat 7 satellites. The primary purpose of this high-altitude observing platform was to obtain independent observations of smoke, clouds, and land surfaces that could be used to check the validity of various remote sensing measurements derived by Earth-orbiting satellites. These include such things as the accuracy of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) cloud mask for distinguishing clouds and heavy aerosol from land and ocean surfaces and Terra analyses of cloud optical and microphysical properties, aerosol properties, leaf area index, vegetation index, fire occurrence, carbon monoxide, and surface radiation budget. In addition to coordination with Terra and Landsat 7 satellites, numerous flights were conducted over surface AERONET sites, flux towers in South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia, and in situ aircraft from the University of Washington, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. As a result of this experiment, the MODIS cloud mask was shown to distinguish clouds, cloud shadows, and fires over land ecosystems of southern Africa with a high degree of accuracy. In addition, data acquired from the ER-2 show the vertical distribution and stratification of aerosol layers over the subcontinent and make the first observations of a ‘‘blue spike’’ spectral emission signature associated with air heated by fire advecting over a cooler land surface.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)