Interpreting aerosol lidar profiles to better estimate surface PM2.5 for columnar AOD measurements

D. Allen Chu, Tzu Chin Tsai, Jen Ping Chen, Shuenn Chin Chang, Yung Jyh Jeng, Wei Li Chiang, Neng Hui Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD) products have been used to estimate surface PM2.5 in different parts of the world. However, some revealed good but some relatively poorer relationship between AOD andPM2.5. The increasingly available lidar-based aerosol extinction profiles provide insights intotheboundary layer as well as residual above it. Here we report a study in Taiwan using four-year (2006-2009) MPLNet data to characterize aerosol vertical distribution. We derived haze layer height (HLH) from MPLNet aerosol extinction profiles and classified profile differences by mean PBL extinction (MPE) and near-surface extinction (NSE). The former represents the mean extinction within boundary layer and the latter the closest extinction to surface. The comparison of MPE versus NSE leads to three distinct classifications of aerosol profiles to help interpret the relationship between AOD and PM2.5. The approximation of normalizing AODAERONET by HLH closely follows MPE in correlating with PM2.5 (>0.8 with respect to season or >0.85 with respect to profile classification). The correlation resulted from AODMODIS/HLH is systematically lower than that derived by AODAERONET/HLH. PM2.5 values are overall better estimated by profile classification than those derived by season. Better performance of PM2.5 is obtained with the approximation (i.e., normalizing AOD by HLH) than that using AOD only. The performance metrics used in quantifying the relationship reveal improvements in uncertainty by 2.9μgm-3 (or 20%) with AODAERONET/HLH and 2.3μgm-3 (or 15%) with AODMODIS/HLH in comparison to using AOD only.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-187
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Aerosol optical depth
  • Haze layer height
  • Particulate matter
  • Planetary boundary layer height
  • Taiwan


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