Satellite remote sensing has been providing aerosol data with ever-increasing accuracy, representative of the MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Dark Target (DT) and Deep Blue (DB) aerosol retrievals. These retrievals are generally performed over spectrally dark objects and therefore may struggle over bright surfaces. This study proposed an analytical TERRA-AQUA MODIS relationship in the reflective solar bands for aerosol retrieval. For the relationship development, the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) effects were adjusted using reflectance ratios in the MODIS 2.13 μm band and the path radiance was approximated as an analytical function of aerosol optical thickness (AOT) and scattering phase function. Comparisons with MODIS observation data, MODIS AOT data, and sun photometer measurements demonstrate the validity of the proposed relationship for aerosol retrieval. The synergetic TERRA-AQUA MODIS retrievals are highly correlated with the ground measured AOT at TERRA MODIS overpass time (R2
= 0.617; RMSE = 0.043) and AQUA overpass time (R2
= 0.737; RMSE = 0.036). Compared to our retrievals, both the MODIS DT and DB retrievals are subject to severe underestimation. Sensitivity analyses reveal that the proposed method may perform better over non-vegetated than vegetated surfaces, which can offer a complement to MODIS operational algorithms. In an analytical form, the proposed method also has advantages in computational efficiency, and therefore can be employed for fine-scale (relative to operational 10 km MODIS product) MODIS aerosol retrieval. Overall, this study provides insight into aerosol retrievals and other applications regarding TERRA-AQUA MODIS data.
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