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Applied Aviation Sciences

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A technique has been developed to infer the optical thickness of Saharan dust from Synchronous Meteorological Satellite (SMS) brightness measurements at visible wavelengths. The scattering model consists of an air layer, a dust layer and a lower boundary of variable albedo. Single-scatter properties of the dust computed from Mie theory were the basis for calculations by plane-parallel theory of radiative transfer in the dust layer. Radiative interactions between air and dust layers and the lower boundary were calculated with an adding version of the doubling scheme. Optical thickness was determined from satellite brightness measurements through a lookup table produced by the adding program. SMS visible sensors were calibrated from the prelaunch calibration measurements and measurements of sun and space. Error analysis and tests indicate a potential accuracy of ∼0.1 unit of optical thickness. The main limits on accuracy are digitizing resolution of the SMS visible signals, and mistaking clouds for dust in the satellite imagery. This technique of inferring Saharan dust turbidity has been verified and fine-tuned using surface turbidity measurements during GATE and corresponding SMS imagery.

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Journal of Applied Meteorology



American Meteorological Society

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Dr. Mosher was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.

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