Monitoring aerosols over Europe: an assessment of the potential benefit of assimilating the VIS04 measurements from the future MTG/FCI geostationary imager
The study assesses the possible benefit of assimilating aerosol optical depth (AOD) from the future space-borne sensor FCI (Flexible Combined Imager) for air quality monitoring in Europe. An observing system simulation experiment (OSSE) was designed and applied over a 4-month period, which includes a severe-pollution episode. The study focuses on the FCI channel centred at 444 nm, which is the shortest wavelength of FCI. A nature run (NR) and four different control runs of the MOCAGE chemistry transport model were designed and evaluated to guarantee the robustness of the OSSE results. The synthetic AOD observations from the NR were disturbed by errors that are typical of the FCI. The variance of the FCI AOD at 444 nm was deduced from a global sensitivity analysis that took into account the aerosol type, surface reflectance and different atmospheric optical properties. The experiments show a general benefit to all statistical indicators of the assimilation of the FCI AOD at 444 nm for aerosol concentrations at the surface over Europe, and also a positive impact during the severe-pollution event. The simulations with data assimilation reproduced spatial and temporal patterns of PM10 concentrations at the surface better than those without assimilation all along the simulations and especially during the pollution event. The advantage of assimilating AODs from a geostationary platform over a low Earth orbit satellite has also been quantified. This work demonstrates the capability of data from the future FCI sensor to bring added value to the MOCAGE aerosol simulations, and in general, to other chemistry transport models.