Faculty Publications

Estimating Surface Pm2.5 Using Satellite Aod Observations And The Nasa Merra Model Simulations

Document Type


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Proceedings of the Air and Waste Management Association's Annual Conference and Exhibition, AWMA


Aerosol can perturb the Earth's radiation budget directly through the scattering and absorbing of sunlight and indirectly by changing cloud microphysical properties. In this research, Aerosol optical depth (AOD) data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) loaded on NASA's Aqua satellite and the tropospheric Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) column data retrieved from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) loaded on NASA's Aura satellite were analyzed to investigate the correlation of trace gases and aerosols in different regions of the world. The composition of aerosol particles was inferred from the model simulations of NASA MERRA2 developed by Global Modeling Assimilation Office (GMAO). The composition of aerosol particles inferred from NASA MERRA2 model monthly simulations combined with satellite-derived AOD daily data were used to estimate the surface PM2.5. Then the estimated PM2.5 value was improved based on the ratio of MODIS AOD and OMI NO2 columns data to improve the nitrate aerosol estimation. Seasonal variations of correlations between MODIS AOD and OMI NO2 columns were investigated for these regions. Similar AOD to NO2 ratios in summer, and significant variations of AOD to NO2 ratios in winter were found. The improved results were compared with PM2.5 measurements at different monitoring sites, it was found good agreement for summer, fairly disagreement between estimated PM2.5 and measurement during winter and spring. More research needs to be done about the aerosol vertical distributions to further improve the surface PM2.5 estimations.


Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Original Publication Date



UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa



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