Task 202

Ground-based Supersite/Network Measurements in Support of NASA/EOS Missions

Principal Investigator(s):

Q. Ji


S-C. Tsay

Last Updated:

October 26, 2012 15:25:42

Description of Problem

According to NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), "in order to study the Earth as a whole system and understand how it is changing, NASA develops and supports a large number of Earth observing missions. These missions provide Earth science researchers the necessary data to address key questions about global climate change." (http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/missions). As a major component of the Earth Science Division of NASA/SMD, "the Earth Observing System (EOS) is a coordinated series of polar-orbiting and low inclination satellites for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans." (http://eospso.gsfc.nasa.gov). As the EOS follow-on, "the Decadal Survey will generate consensus recommendations from the Earth and environmental science and the applications communities regarding a systems approach to space-based Earth Science observations." (http://decadal.gsfc.nasa.gov). However, satellite observations alone is not sufficient to provide a complete understanding of the complex earth-atmosphere system. Extensive ground-based measurements and comprehensive modeling analysis are also indispensable parts in this endeavor.

Scientific Objectives and Approach

Satellite observations, modeling analysis, and ground-based measurements are complementary. They can be brought together through carefully designed field campaigns. Figure 1 illustrates how the three components may support each other.


To support NASA/EOS missions, we built the GSFC/SMART-COMMIT-ACHIEVE ground-based mobile laboratories (http://smartlabs.gsfc.nasa.gov). These facilities host a broad range of instruments for measuring atmospheric solar and terrestrial radiations, and for in-situ observations of the chemical, optical, and microphysical properties of aerosols and trace gases.

In addition to about fifty existing sensors, a cloud radar, a rain radar, and a ceilometer will join us in 2011. These three active-remote-sensing instruments will be integrated into the newly built ACHIEVE trailer – a customized 20-foot sea container that is tailored for radar operation. This will boost our capability to study aerosol-cloud interactions, and will further expand SMARTLabs’ opportunity for collaborations.

During the past decade we have participated over a dozen international field campaigns. Figure 2 depicts our footprints associated with satellite retrieval/validation projects.

Refereed Journal Publications

Ji, Q., S.-C. Tsay, R. A. Hansell, R. Gautam , S. Bell , J. Huang, Z. Li, and H. Chen, 2011: A Novel Non-Intrusive Method to Resolve the Thermal-Dome-Effect of Pyranometers, Impact on deriving the direct aerosol radiative effect, J. Geophys. Res., in revision.

Ji, Q., and S.-C. Tsay, 2010: A Novel Non-Intrusive Method to Resolve the Thermal-Dome-Effect of Pyranometers, Instrumentation and Observational Basis, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D00K21, doi:10.1029/2009JD013483.

Hansell, R. A., S.-C. Tsay, Q. Ji, N. C. Hsu, M. J. Jeong, S. H. Wang, J. S. Reid, K. N. Liou, and S. C. Ou, 2010: An Assessment of the Surface Longwave Direct Radiative Effect of Airborne Saharan Dust during the NAMMA Field Campaign, J. Atmos. Sci. NAMMA special issue, 67, 1048-1065, doi:10.1175/2009JAS3257.1.

Li, C., S.-C. Tsay, J. S. Fu, R. R. Dickerson, Q. Ji, S. W. Bell, Y. Gao, W. Zhang, J. Huang, Z. Li, and H. Chen, 2010: Anthropogenic Air Pollution Observed near Dust Source Regions in Northwestern China during Springtime 2008, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D00K22, doi:10.1029/2009JD013659.

He, W., H. Chen, Y. Xuan, J. Li, J. Yin, J. Xia, Q. Ji, S.-C. Tsay, 2010, Field Measurements of the Surface Microwave Emissivity for Different Surface Types, Progress in Geophysics, (in Chinese), 25(6), 1983-1993, doi:10.3969/j.issn.1004-2903.2010.06.013.

Task Figures

Fig. 1 – For understanding the earth-atmosphere system, a comprehensive strategy is needed to integrate the complementing activities. The long arrows indicate the relative strength among components that are linked together by field campaigns.

Fig. 2 – Major field deployments participated by SMART-COMMIT

The Major field deployments participated by SMART-COMMIT are: PRIDE (Puerto RIco Dust Experiment, June-July 2000); SAFARI (Southern Africa Fire-Atmosphere Research Initiative, Aug-Sep 2000); ACE-Asia (Aerosol Characterization Experiment-Asia, March-May 2001); CRYSTAL-FACE (Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers – Florida Area Cirrus Experiment, July 2002); DOE/ARM Aerosol IOP (ARM Aerosol Intensive Observing Period, May 2003); UAE2 (United Arab Emirates Unified Aerosol Experiment, Aug-Sep 2004); EAST-AIRE (East A
sian Study of Tropospheric Aerosols – International Regional Experiment, March-May 2005); BASE-ASIA (Biomass-burning Aerosols in South East-Asia: Smoke Impact Assessment, Feb-May 2006); NAMMA (NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Activities, Aug-Sep 2006); CHINA2-AMY08 (Cloud, Humidity Interacting Natural/Anthropogenic Aerosols – Asian Monsoon Year-08, Apr-Sep 2008); RAJO-MEGHA (Radiation, Aerosol Joint Observations-Monsoon Experiment in Gangetic-Himalayas Area, Nepal & India, Apr-Jun 2009); and 7-SEAS/Dongsha (7 South East Asian Studies/Dongsha, Mar-Jun 2010).

Normally we deploy our mobile laboratories as a supersite. To meet the dynamic mission requirements, since RAJO-MEGHA in 2009 we started to explore distributing our sensors in a network to gain more spatial information. The first step is to use pyranometers, which are relatively affordable and easier to handle. These instruments capture downward solar irradiance that is an essential driving force of climate. In order to guarantee and to enhance the data quality, we developed a new technique to measure the thermal-dome-effect (TDE) of a pyranometer (Ji & Tsay, 2010). We also demonstrated that if TDE is not accounted for, there will be an impact on climate studies (Ji et al., 2011).