Validation of satellite-based noontime UVI with NDACC ground-based instruments: influence of topography, environment and satellite overpass time
Abstract. Spectral solar UV radiation measurements are performed in France using three spectroradiometers located at very different sites. One is installed in Villeneuve d'Ascq, in the north of France (VDA). It is an urban site in a topographically flat region. Another instrument is installed in Observatoire de Haute-Provence, located in the southern French Alps (OHP). It is a rural mountainous site. The third instrument is installed in Saint-Denis, Réunion Island (SDR). It is a coastal urban site on a small mountainous island in the southern tropics. The three instruments are affiliated with the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC) and carry out routine measurements to monitor the spectral solar UV radiation and enable derivation of UV index (UVI). The ground-based UVI values observed at solar noon are compared to similar quantities derived from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI, onboard the Aura satellite) and the second Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME-2, onboard the Metop-A satellite) measurements for validation of these satellite-based products. The present study concerns the period 2009–September 2012, date of the implementation of a new OMI processing tool. The new version (v1.3) introduces a correction for absorbing aerosols that were not considered in the old version (v1.2). Both versions of the OMI UVI products were available before September 2012 and are used to assess the improvement of the new processing tool. On average, estimates from satellite instruments always overestimate surface UVI at solar noon. Under cloudless conditions, the satellite-derived estimates of UVI compare satisfactorily with ground-based data: the median relative bias is less than 8 % at VDA and 4 % at SDR for both OMI v1.3 and GOME-2, and about 6 % for OMI v1.3 and 2 % for GOME-2 at OHP. The correlation between satellite-based and ground-based data is better at VDA and OHP (about 0.99) than at SDR (0.96) for both space-borne instruments. For all sky conditions, the median relative biases are much larger, with large dispersion for both instruments at all sites (VDA: about 12 %; OHP: 9 %; SDR: 11 %). Correlation between satellite-based and ground-based data is still better at VDA and OHP (about 0.95) than at SDR (about 0.73) for both satellite instruments. These results are explained considering the time of overpass of the two satellites, which is far from solar noon, preventing a good estimation of the cloud cover necessary for a good modelling of the UVI. Site topography and environment are shown to have a non-significant influence. At VDA and OHP, OMI v1.3 shows a significant improvement with respect to v1.2, which did not account for absorbing aerosols.