1Biospherical Instruments Inc., San Diego, California, USA
2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Kuopio, Finland
3Department of Physics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
4Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
5Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
6Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, Østerås, Norway
7Finnish Meteorological Institute, Arctic Research Centre, Sodankylä, Finland
8Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
Received: 04 Feb 2015 – Discussion started: 25 Mar 2015
Abstract. The Dutch–Finnish Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on board NASA's Aura spacecraft provides estimates of erythemal (sunburning) ultraviolet (UV) dose rates and erythemal daily doses. These data were compared with ground-based measurements at 13 stations located throughout the Arctic and Scandinavia from 60 to 83° N. The study corroborates results from earlier work, but is based on a longer time series (8 versus 2 years) and considers additional data products, such as the erythemal dose rate at the time of the satellite overpass. Furthermore, systematic errors in satellite UV data resulting from inaccuracies in the surface albedo climatology used in the OMI UV algorithm are systematically assessed. At times when the surface albedo is correctly known, OMI data typically exceed ground-based measurements by 0–11 %. When the OMI albedo climatology exceeds the actual albedo, OMI data may be biased high by as much as 55 %. In turn, when the OMI albedo climatology is too low, OMI data can be biased low by up to 59 %. Such large negative biases may occur when reflections from snow and ice, which increase downwelling UV irradiance, are misinterpreted as reflections from clouds, which decrease the UV flux at the surface. Results suggest that a better OMI albedo climatology would greatly improve the accuracy of OMI UV data products even if year-to-year differences of the actual albedo cannot be accounted for. A pathway for improving the OMI albedo climatology is discussed. Results also demonstrate that ground-based measurements from the center of Greenland, where high, homogenous surface albedo is observed year round, are ideally suited to detect systematic problems or temporal drifts in estimates of surface UV irradiance from space.
Revised: 06 Jun 2015 – Accepted: 17 Jun 2015 – Published: 09 Jul 2015
Bernhard, G., Arola, A., Dahlback, A., Fioletov, V., Heikkilä, A., Johnsen, B., Koskela, T., Lakkala, K., Svendby, T., and Tamminen, J.: Comparison of OMI UV observations with ground-based measurements at high northern latitudes, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 7391-7412, doi:10.5194/acp-15-7391-2015, 2015.