Aerosol Optical Depth from MODIS satellite data above the Pierre Auger Observatory (Englisch)

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Aerosol optical depth can be retrieved from measurements performed by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite instrument. The MODIS satellite system includes two polar satellites, Terra and Aqua. Each of them flies over the Pierre Auger Observatory once a day, providing two measurements of aerosols per day and covering the whole area of the Observatory. MODIS aerosol data products have been generated by three dedicated algorithms over bright and dark land and over ocean surface. We choose the Deep Blue algorithm data to investigate the distribution of aerosols over the Observatory, as this algorithm is the most appropriate one for semi-arid land of the Pierre Auger Observatory. This data algorithm allows us to obtain aerosol optical depth values for the investigated region, and to build cloud-free aerosol maps with a horizontal resolution 0.1 degrees x0.1 degrees. Since a sufficient number of measurements was obtained only for Loma Amarilla and Coihueco fluorescence detector (FD) sites of the Pierre Auger Observatory, a more detailed analysis of aerosol distributions is provided for these sites. Aerosols over these FD sites are generally distributed in a similar way each year, but some anomalies are also observed. These anomalies in aerosol distributions appear mainly due to some transient events, such as volcanic ash clouds, fires etc. We conclude that the Deep Blue MODIS algorithm provides more realistic aerosol optical depth values than other available algorithms.