Classification of dust days by satellite remotely sensed aerosol products

M. Sorek-Hamer, A. Cohen, R. C. Levy, B. Ziv, D. M. Broday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Considerable progress in satellite remote sensing (SRS) of dust particles has been seen in the last decade. From an environmental health perspective, such an event detection, after linking it to ground particulate matter (PM) concentrations, can proxy acute exposure to respirable particles of certain properties (i.e. size, composition, and toxicity). Being affected considerably by atmospheric dust, previous studies in the Eastern Mediterranean, and in Israel in particular, have focused on mechanistic and synoptic prediction, classification, and characterization of dust events. In particular, a scheme for identifying dust days (DD) in Israel based on ground PM10 (particulate matter of size smaller than 10 μm) measurements has been suggested, which has been validated by compositional analysis. This scheme requires information regarding ground PM10 levels, which is naturally limited in places with sparse ground-monitoring coverage. In such cases, SRS may be an efficient and cost-effective alternative to ground measurements. This work demonstrates a new model for identifying DD and non-DD (NDD) over Israel based on an integration of aerosol products from different satellite platforms (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI)).Analysis of ground-monitoring data from 2007 to 2008 in southern Israel revealed 67 DD, with more than 88% occurring during winter and spring. A Classification and Regression Tree (CART) model that was applied to a database containing ground monitoring (the dependent variable) and SRS aerosol product (the independent variables) records revealed an optimal set of binary variables for the identification of DD. These variables are combinations of the following primary variables: the calendar month, ground-level relative humidity (RH), the aerosol optical depth (AOD) from MODIS, and the aerosol absorbing index (AAI) from OMI. A logistic regression that uses these variables, coded as binary variables, demonstrated 93.2% correct classifications of DD and NDD. Evaluation of the combined CART-logistic regression scheme in an adjacent geographical region (Gush Dan) demonstrated good results. Using SRS aerosol products for DD and NDD, identification may enable us to distinguish between health, ecological, and environmental effects that result from exposure to these distinct particle populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2672-2688
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2013


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