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Regional and global aerosol and clouds

EUCAARI used satellite data to understand regional and global variations of aerosol and cloud properties, and aerosol-cloud interactions. The resulting aerosol and cloud information on regional and global scales was used in process, transport and effects studies in support of the assessment of air quality and climate. The observations were made using experimental state-of-the-art space-borne instruments (MODIS, AATSR, PARASOL, OMI, Cloudsat, CALIPSO and MSG SEVIRI). This required the development of new methods/algorithms and the improvement of existing ones to improve the quality of retrieved aerosol and cloud parameters and the retrieval of new parameters by optimum utilization of the technical characteristics of the available instruments. Tools have been developed to visualize and analyse combined data sets.
The analysis focused on the EUCAARI campaigns, on the distributions and effects over Europe and around the EUCAARI sites in China, India and South Africa, and on regional, global and seasonal variations of aerosol and cloud properties and radiative effects. Retrieval results were analyzed and inter-compared to improve their quality and the understanding of the retrieval products. Aerosol optical depth and Fine Mode Fraction were compared with independent ground-based and airborne measurements as well as with model results. These comparisons served to evaluate both the retrieval and the model outcomes. Cloud properties retrieved from satellite observations show the effects of aerosols on cloud microphysical and optical properties and the evolution of clouds as well as information on cloud phase which leads to better understanding of cloud properties and effects.