We present a new approach to retrieve Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) over the turbid coastal water. This approach supplements the operational Dark Target (DT) aerosol retrieval algorithm that currently does not conduct AOD retrieval in shallow waters that have visible sediments or sea-floor (i.e., Class 2 waters). Over the global coastal water regions in cloud-free conditions, coastal screening leads to ~20% unavailability of AOD retrievals. Here, we refine the MODIS DT algorithm by considering that water-leaving radiance at 2.1 μm to be negligible regardless of water turbidity, and therefore the 2.1 μm reflectance at the top of the atmosphere is sensitive to both change of fine-mode and coarse-mode AODs. By assuming that the aerosol single scattering properties over coastal turbid water are similar to those over the adjacent open-ocean pixels, the new algorithm can derive AOD over these shallow waters. The test algorithm yields ~18% more MODIS-AERONET collocated pairs for six AERONET stations in the coastal water regions. Furthermore, comparison of the new retrieval with these AERONET observations show that the new AOD retrievals have equivalent or better accuracy than those retrieved by the MODIS operational algorithm’s over coastal land and non-turbid coastal water product. Combining the new retrievals with the existing MODIS operational retrievals yields an overall improvement of AOD over those coastal water regions. Most importantly, this refinement extends the spatial and temporal coverage of MODIS AOD retrievals over the coastal regions where 60% of human population resides. This expanded coverage is crucial for better understanding of impact of anthropogenic aerosol particles on coastal air quality and climate.
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