Aerosols direct and indirect effects on the Earth's climate are widely recognized but have yet to be adequately quantified. Difficulties arise due to the very high spatial and temporal variability of aerosols, which is a major cause of uncertainties in radiative forcing studies. The effective monitoring of the global aerosol distribution is only made possible by satellite monitoring and this is the reason why the interest in aerosol observations from satellite passive radiometers is steadily increasing.
From the point of view of the study of land surfaces, the atmosphere with its constituents represents an obscurant whose effects should be as much as possible eliminated, being this process sometimes referred to as atmospheric correction. In absence of clouds and using spectral intervals where gas absorption can be avoided to a great extent, only the aerosol effect remains to be corrected. The monitoring of the aerosol particles present in the atmosphere is then crucial to succeed in doing an accurate atmospheric correction, otherwise the surface properties may be inadequately characterised. However, the atmospheric correction over land surfaces turns out to be a difficult task since surface reflection competes with the atmospheric component of the signal. On the other hand, a single mean pre-established aerosol characterisation would not be sufficient for this purpose due to very high spatial and temporal variability of aerosols and their unpredictability, especially what concerns particulary intense "events" such as biomass burning and forest fires, desert dust episodes and volcanic eruptions. In this context, an operational methodology has been developed at the University of Evora - Evora Geophysics Centre (CGE), in the framework of the Satellite Application Facility for Land Surface Analysis - Land SAF, to derive an Aerosol Product from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) data, flying on the Geostationary (GEO) satellite system Meteosat-8.
The aerosol characterization obtained is used to calculate the fluxes and estimate the aerosol radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere. The methodology along with the results of the aerosol properties and radiative forcing using SEVIRI images is presented. The aerosol optical thickness results are compared with ground-based measurements from the Aerosol Robotic NETwork (AERONET), to assess the accuracy of the methodology presented.