A semianalytical model, named APOM (aerosol plume optical model) and predicting the radiative effects of aerosol plumes in the spectral range , is presented in the case of nadir viewing. It is devoted to the analysis of plumes arising from single strong emission events (high optical depths) such as fires or industrial discharges. The scene is represented by a standard atmosphere (molecules and natural aerosols) on which a plume layer is added at the bottom. The estimated at-sensor reflectance depends on the atmosphere without plume, the solar zenith angle, the plume optical properties (optical depth, single-scattering albedo, and asymmetry parameter), the ground reflectance, and the wavelength. Its mathematical expression as well as its numerical coefficients are derived from MODTRAN4 radiative transfer simulations. The DISORT option is used with 16 fluxes to provide a sufficiently accurate calculation of multiple scattering effects that are important for dense smokes. Model accuracy is assessed by using a set of simulations performed in the case of biomass burning and industrial plumes. APOM proves to be accurate and robust for solar zenith angles between and whatever the sensor altitude, the standard atmosphere, for plume phase functions defined from urban and rural models, and for plume locations that extend from the ground to a height below . The modeling errors in the at-sensor reflectance are on average below 0.002. They can reach values of 0.01 but correspond to low relative errors then (below 3% on average). This model can be used for forward modeling (quick simulations of multi/hyperspectral images and help in sensor design) as well as for the retrieval of the plume optical properties from remotely sensed images.
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