Influence of aerosol and surface reflectance variability on hyperspectral observed radiance
Current aerosol retrievals based on visible and near infrared remote-sensing, are prone to loss of accuracy, where the assumptions of the applied algorithm are violated. This happens mostly over land and it is related to misrepresentation of specific aerosol conditions or surface properties. New satellite missions, based on high spectral resolution instruments, such as PRISMA (Hyperspectral Precursor of the Application Mission), represent a valuable opportunity to improve the accuracy of τ a550 retrievable from a remote-sensing system developing new atmospheric measurement techniques. This paper aims to address the potential of these new observing systems in more accurate retrieving τ a550, specifically over land in heterogeneous and/or homogeneous areas composed by dark and bright targets. The study shows how the variation of the hyperspectral observed radiance can be addressed to recognise a variation of Δτ a550 = 0.02. The goal has been achieved by using simulated radiances by combining two aerosol models (urban and continental) and two reflecting surfaces: dark (represented by water) and bright (represented by sand) for the PRISMA instrument, considering the environmental contribution of the observed radiance, i.e., the adjacency effect. Results showed that, in the continental regime, the expected instrument sensitivity would allow for retrieval accuracy of the aerosol optical thickness at 550 nm of 0.02 or better, with a dark surface surrounded by dark areas. The study also showed that for the urban regime, the surface plays a more significant role, with a bright surface surrounded by dark areas providing favourable conditions for the aerosol load retrievals, and dark surfaces representing less suitable situations for inversion independently of the surroundings. However, over all, the results obtained provide evidence that high resolution observations of Earth spectrum between 400 and 1000 nm would allow for a significant improvement of the accuracy of the τ a550 for anthropogenic/natural aerosols over land.