Retrieval of aerosol microphysical and optical properties over land using a multimode approach
Polarimeter retrievals can provide detailed and accurate information on aerosol microphysical and optical properties. The SRON aerosol algorithm is one of the few retrieval approaches that can fully exploit this information. The algorithm core is a two-mode retrieval in which effective radius (reff), effective variance (veff), refractive index, and column number are retrieved for each mode; the fraction of spheres for the coarse mode and an aerosol layer height are also retrieved. Further, land and ocean properties are retrieved simultaneously with the aerosol properties. In this contribution, we extend the SRON aerosol algorithm by implementing a multimode approach in which each mode has fixed reff and veff. In this way the algorithm obtains more flexibility in describing the aerosol size distribution and avoids the high nonlinear dependence of the forward model on the aerosol size parameters. Conversely, the approach depends on the choice of the modes. We compare the performances of multimode retrievals (varying the number of modes from 2 to 10) with those based on the original (parametric) two-mode approach. Experiments with both synthetic measurements and real measurements (PARASOL satellite level-1 data of intensity and polarization) are conducted. The synthetic data experiments show that multimode retrievals are good alternatives to the parametric two-mode approach. It is found that for multimode approaches, with five modes the retrieval results can already be good for most parameters. The real data experiments (validated with AERONET data) show that, for the aerosol optical thickness (AOT), multimode approaches achieve higher accuracy than the parametric two-mode approach. For single scattering albedo (SSA), both approaches have similar performances.