Spatial scales of pollution from variable resolution satellite imaging

Alexandra A. Chudnovsky*, Alex Kostinski, Alexei Lyapustin, Petros Koutrakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) provides daily global coverage, but the 10 km resolution of its aerosol optical depth (AOD) product is not adequate for studying spatial variability of aerosols in urban areas. Recently, a new Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) algorithm was developed for MODIS which provides AOD at 1 km resolution. Using MAIAC data, the relationship between MAIAC AOD and PM2.5 as measured by the EPA ground monitoring stations was investigated at varying spatial scales. Our analysis suggested that the correlation between PM 2.5 and AOD decreased significantly as AOD resolution was degraded. This is so despite the intrinsic mismatch between PM2.5 ground level measurements and AOD vertically integrated measurements. Furthermore, the fine resolution results indicated spatial variability in particle concentration at a sub-10 km scale. Finally, this spatial variability of AOD within the urban domain was shown to depend on PM2.5 levels and wind speed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerosol optical depth
  • Fine particulate matter
  • High resolution aerosol retrieval
  • Intra-urban pollution
  • Particulate matter
  • Scales of pollution
  • Variability AOD-PM correlation


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