Evaluation and modification of SARA high-resolution AOD retrieval algorithm during high dust loading conditions over bright desert surfaces

Neamat Karimi, Soodabeh Namdari, Armin Sorooshian, Muhhamad Bilal, Parisa Heidary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Many studies have been carried out for the validation of Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) retrieved using MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data at the spatial resolution of several to several tens of km. Most of the validation efforts have focused on urban areas with fewer studies focused on deserts with high amounts of dust. On the other hand, calculating AOD at a high spatial resolution over desert surfaces is of high interest to identify local and accurate dust source regions. In this study, two different high-resolution MODIS AOD retrieval algorithms were evaluated to investigate the nature of high dust loading events over the Middle East region. These algorithms include the Simplified Aerosol Retrieval Algorithm (SARA) at 500 m resolution based on the MOD09 Level 2 daily (original SARAMOD09) and MCD43A4 16 day (modified SARAMCD43) surface reflectance products. These algorithms were validated using AERONET AOD observations at Kuwait University, and accuracy was evaluated using descriptive statistics and Expected Error (EE) over land. Also, the results of these algorithms were evaluated with the Collection 6 (C6) Deep Blue algorithm at 10 km spatial resolution (DB10km). Results show that the SARAMCD43 and SARAMOD09 AOD retrievals are well correlated (r) with AERONET data (SARAMCD43 = 0.89 and SARAMOD09 = 0.84), with a larger number of retrievals falling within the Expected Error (SARAMCD43 = 86% and SARAMOD09 = 77%) than the DB (DB10km = 60%) AOD product. The SARAMCD43 AOD exhibited good agreement with DB10km AOD over desert surfaces areas during high aerosol loading events, with an average correlation coefficient of 0.92, RMSE of 0.09, and mean absolute error (MAE) of 0.08. While SARAMOD09 AOD over background desert areas is similar to SARAMCD43, significant differences were observed over high aerosol loading areas and SARAMOD09 dramatically underestimates AOD. The results demonstrate that: (i) the SARA algorithm (regardless of surface reflectance data used) is more robust than the MODIS AOD products (both DT and DB), and is better able to represent spatial dust aerosol conditions with an accurate AOD over desert areas over a range of low to high dust pollutant levels; (ii) SARAMCD43 is well correlated with the DB AOD observations and provides AOD with much greater accuracy and reliability than SARAMOD09 over desert areas during severe dust loading events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1014
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Pollution Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • AOD
  • Desert surfaces
  • SARA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science


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