AOD Trends over Megacities Based on Space Monitoring Using MODIS and MISR


Space monitoring of aerosol optical depth (AOD) trends over megacities can serve as a potential space indicator of global anthropogenic air-pollution changes. Three space aerosol sensors, MODIS-Terra, MODIS-Aqua and MISR, were used in order to study recent decadal trends of AOD over megacities around the world. Space monitoring of AOD trends has the advantage of global coverage and applies the same approach to detecting AOD trends over different sites. In spite of instrumental and time differences among the three sensors investigated, their global pictures of AOD trends over the 189 largest cities in the world are quite similar. The increasing AOD trends over the largest cities in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and North China can be clearly seen. By contrast, megacities in Europe, the north-east of US, and South-East Asia show mainly declining AOD trends. In the cases where all three sensors show similar signs of AOD trends, the results can be considered as reliable. This is supported by the observed trends in surface solar radiation, obtained by using network pyranometer measurements in North and South China, India, and Europe. In the cases where the three sensors show differing signs of AOD trends (e.g. South America), additional research is required in order to verify the obtained AOD trends.

Share and Cite:

P. Alpert, O. Shvainshtein and P. Kishcha, "AOD Trends over Megacities Based on Space Monitoring Using MODIS and MISR," American Journal of Climate Change, Vol. 1 No. 3, 2012, pp. 117-131. doi: 10.4236/ajcc.2012.13010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] M. J. Molina and L. T. Molina, “Megacities and Atmospheric Pollution,” Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, Vol. 54, No. 6, 2004, pp. 644-680. doi:10.1080/10473289.2004.10470936
[2] D. Mage, G. Ozolins, P. Peterson, A. Webster, R. Orthoferj, V. Vandeweerds and M. Gwynnet, “Urban Air Pollution in Megacities of The World,” Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 30, No. 5, 1996, pp. 681-686. doi:10.1016/1352-2310(95)00219-7
[3] V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng, “Air Pollution, Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change: Global and Regional Perspectives,” Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2009, pp. 37-50. doi:10. 1016/j.atmosenv.2008.09.063
[4] M. L. Bell, D. L. Davis and T. Fletcher, “A Retrospective Assessment of Mortality from the London Smog Episode of 1952: The Role of Influenza and Pollution,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 112, No. 1, 2004, pp. 68. doi:10.1289/ehp.6539
[5] E. H. Decker, S. Elliott, F. A. Smith, D. R. Blake and F. S. Rowland, “Energy and Material Flow through the urban Ecosystem,” Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, Vol. 25, 2000, pp. 685-740. doi:10.1146/
[6] E. Samoli, A. Analitis, G. Touloumi, J. Schwartz, H. R. Anderson, J. Sunyer, L. Bisanti, D. Zmirou, J. M. Vonk, J. Pekkanen, P. Goodman, A. Paldy, C. Schindler and K. Katsouyanni, “Estimating the Exposure-Response Relationships between Particulate Matter and Mortality within the APHEA Multicity Project,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 113, No. 1, 2005, pp. 88-95. doi:10.1289/ehp.7387
[7] C. A. Pope, R. T. Burnett, M. J. Thun, E. E. Calle, D. Krewski, K. Ito and G. D. Thurston, “Lung Cancer, Cardiopulmonary Mortality, and long-term exposure to Fine Particulate Air Pollution,” The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 287, No. 9, 2002, pp. 1132141. doi:10.1001/jama.287.9.1132
[8] V. Ramanathan, et al., “The Indian Ocean Experiment: An Integrated Analysis of the Climate Forcing and Effects of the Great Indo-Asian Haze,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 106, No. D22, 2001, pp. 2837128398. doi:10.1029/2001JD900133
[9] V. Ramanathan, P. J. Crutzen, J. T. Kiehl and D. Rosenfeld, “Aerosols, Climate, and the Hydrological Cycle,” Science, Vol. 294, No. 5549, 2001, pp. 2119-2124. doi:10.1126/science.1064034
[10] Y. J. Kaufman, D. Tanré and O. Boucher, “A Satellite View of Aerosols in the Climate System,” Nature, Vol. 419, 2002, pp. 215-223. doi:10.1038/nature01091
[11] G. Stanhill and S. Cohen, “Global Dimming: A Review of the Evidence for a Widespread and Significant Reduction in Global Radiation with Discussion of Its Probable Causes and Possible Agricultural Consequences,” Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Vol. 107, No. 4, 2001, pp. 255-278. doi:10.1016/S0168-1923(00)00241-0
[12] M. Wild, “Global Dimming and Brightening: A Review,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 114, 2009, Article ID: D00D16. doi:10.1029/2008JD011470
[13] P. Alpert, P. Kishcha, Y. J. Kaufman and R. Schwarzbard, “Global Dimming or Local Dimming: Effect of Urbanization on Sunlight Availability,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, 2005, Article ID: L17802. doi:10.1029/2005GL023320
[14] P. Alpert and P. Kishcha, “Quantification of the Effect of Urbanization on Solar Dimming,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 35, 2008, Article ID: L08801. doi:10.1029/2007GL033012
[15] P. Kishcha, B. Starobinets, O. Kalashnikova and P. Alpert, “Aerosol Optical Thickness Trends and Population Growth in the Indian Subcontinent,” International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 32, No. 24, 2011, pp. 91379149. doi:10.1080/01431161.2010.550333
[16] D. J. Diner, J. C. Beckert, T. H. Reilly, C. J. Bruegge, J. E. Conel, R. A. Kahn, J. V. Martonchik, T. P. Ackerman, R. Davies, S. A. W. Gerstl, H. R. Gordon, J.-P. Muller, R. Myneni, P. J. Sellers, B. Pinty and M. M. Verstraete, “Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) Instrument Description and Experiment Overview,” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. 36, No. 4, 1998, pp. 1072-1087. doi:10.1109/36.700992
[17] O. V. Kalashnikova and R. Kahn, “Mineral Dust Plume Evolution over the Atlantic from MISR and MODIS Aerosol Retrievals,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 113, 2009, Article ID: D24204. doi:10.1029/2008JD010083
[18] L. A. Remer, Y. J. Kaufman, D. Tanré, S. Mattoo, D. A. Chu, J. V. Martins, R.-R. Li, C. Ichoku, R. C. Levy, R. G. Kleidman, T. F. Eck, E. Vermote and B. N. Holben, “The MODIS Aerosol Algorithm, Products and Validation,” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 62, No. 4, 2005, pp. 947-973. doi:10.1175/JAS3385.1
[19] R. C. Levy, L. A. Remer, R. G. Kleidman, S. Mattoo, C. Ichoku, R. Kahn, and T. E. Eck, “Global Evaluation of the Collection 5 MODIS Dark-Target Aerosol Products over Land,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 10, 2010, pp. 10399-10420. doi:10.5194/acp-10-10399-2010
[20] Y. Liu, J. A. Sarnat, B. A. Coull, P. Koutrakis and D. J. Jacob, “Validation of Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) Aerosol Optical Thickness Measurements Using Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) Observations over the Contiguous United States,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 109, 2004, Article ID: D06205. doi:10.1029/2003JD003981
[21] M. M. Oo, M. Jerg, E. Hernandez, A. Picon, B. M. Gross, F. Moshary and S. A. Ahmed, “Improved MODIS Aerosol Retrieval Using Modified VIS/SWIR Surface Albedo Ratio over Urban Scenes,” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. 48, No. 3, 2010, pp. 983-1000. doi:10.1109/TGRS.2009.2028333
[22] S. N. Tripathi, S. Day, A. Chandel, S. Srivastava, R. P. Singh and B. Holben, “Comparison of MODIS and AERONET Derived Aerosol Optical Depth over the Ganga Basin, India,” Annales Geophysicae, Vol. 23, 2005, pp. 1093-1101. doi:10.5194/angeo-23-1093-2005
[23] J. Zhang, J. S. Reid and B. N. Holben, “An Analysis of Potential Cloud Artifacts in MODIS over Ocean Aerosol Optical Thickness Products,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, 2005, Article ID: L15803. doi:10.1029/2005GL023254
[24] I. Koren, L. Remer, Y. Kaufman, Y. Rudich and J. Martins, “On the Twilight Zone between Clouds and Aerosols,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, 2007, Article ID: L08805. doi:10.1029/2007GL029253
[25] A. K. Prasad and R. P. Singh, “Comparison of MISRMODIS Aerosol Optical Depth over the Indo-Gangetic Basin during the Winter and Summer Seasons (20002005),” Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 107, No. 12, 2007, pp. 109-119. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2006.09.026
[26] L.A. Remer, R. G. Kleidman, R. C. Levy, Y. J. Kaufman, D. Tanré, S. Mattoo, J. V. Martins, C. Ichoku, I. Koren, H. Yu and B. Holben, “Global Aerosol Climatology from the MODIS Satellite Sensors,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 113, 2008, Article ID: D14S07. doi:10.1029/2007JD009661
[27] T. Brinkhoff, “The Principal Agglomerations of the World,” 2010.
[28] X. Xia, “A Closer Looking at Dimming and Brightening in China during 1961-2005,” Annales Geophysicae, Vol. 28, 2010, pp. 1121-1132. doi:10.5194/angeo-28-1121-2010
[29] B. P. Kumari and B. N. Goswami, “Seminal Role of Clouds on Solar Dimming over the Indian Monsoon Region,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 37, 2010, Article ID: L06703. doi:10.1029/2009GL042133
[30] K. Makowski, E. B. Jaeger, M. Chiacchio, M. Wild, T. Ewen and A. Ohmura, “On the Relationship between Diurnal Temperature Range and Surface Solar Radiation in Europe,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 114, 2009, Article ID: D00D07. doi:10.1029/2008JD011104
[31] J. R. Norris and M. Wild, “Trends in Aerosol Radiative Effects over Europe Inferred from Observed Cloud Cover, Solar ‘Dimming’ and Solar ‘Brightening’,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, 2007, Article ID: D08214. doi:10.1029/2006JD007794
[32] C. W. Strjern, J. E. Kristjansson and A. W. Hansen, “Global Dimming and Global Brightening—An Analysis of Surface Radiation and Cloud Cover Data in Northern Europe,” International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 29, No. 5, 2008. doi:10.1002/joc.1735
[33] A. Sanchez-Lorenzo and M. Wild, “Decadal Variations in Estimated Surface Solar Radiation over Switzerland since the Late 19th Century,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, Vol. 12, 2012, pp. 10815-10843. doi:10.5194/acpd-12-10815-2012
[34] J. Zhang and J. S. Reid, “A Decadal Regional and Global Trend Analysis of the Aerosol Optical Depth Using a Data-Assimilation Grade Over-Water MODIS and Level 2 MISR Aerosol Products,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 10, 2010, pp. 10949-10963. doi:10.5194/acp-10-10949-2010

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.