Prithviraj Mali1,2, Mriganka Sekhar Biswas1,2, Steffen Beirle3, Thomas Wagner3, Shrivardhan Hulswar1,4, Swaleha Inamdar1,5, Anoop S. Mahajan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1 

1 Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Pune, India
2 Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India
Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie (MPI-C), Satellite Remote Sensing Group, 55128 Mainz, Germany
4 National Aerosol Facility, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India
5 Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA

Received: April 3, 2023
Revised: November 12, 2023
Accepted: November 27, 2023

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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Mali, P., Biswas, M.S., Beirle, S., Wagner, T., Hulswar, S., Inamdar, S., Mahajan, A.S. (2024). Aerosol Measurements over India: Comparison of MAX-DOAS Measurements with Ground-based (AERONET) and Satellite-based (MODIS) Data. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 24, 230076.


  • MAX-DOAS measurements of aerosols over three locations in India.
  • Vertical profiles and AODs estimated using MAX-DOAS measurements.
  • A good agreement with AERONET measurements.
  • A moderate correlation found with MODIS measurements.
  • MAX-DOAS is useful to retrieve surface measuring high pollution events and long-term monitoring.


In this study, we present ground-based multi-axis differential optical absorption spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) measurements of aerosols from two urban locations (Delhi and Pune) and one high-altitude rural location (Mahabaleshwar) in India. We utilized a profile retrieval algorithm to estimate the vertical profiles and vertical column densities of aerosols (AOD) using MAX-DOAS measurements of the oxygen dimer (O4) at ultraviolet and visible spectral regions. Our results from Pune show good agreement with the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) observations at both UV and visible wavelengths, with correlation coefficients of 0.70 and 0.71, respectively. The MAX-DOAS retrieved AOD and the MODIS satellite-based AOD product at 360 nm for Pune and Mahabaleshwar showed similar variations with correlation coefficients of 0.70 and 0.74, respectively. However, over Delhi, the correlation was poor at 0.54. At 477 nm, all three locations had a moderately positive correlation between the MAX-DOAS and MODIS AODs, with statistically significant correlation coefficients of 0.66, 0.61, and 0.60, respectively. Over the high pollution regions, especially over Delhi, the MODIS AOD was systematically higher than MAX-DOAS AOD.

The vertical profiles of aerosol extinction coefficients (AEC) show that aerosols were concentrated within the boundary layer (below 2 km) in Pune and Delhi, with the highest AEC values observed up to 500 meters. Compared to urban locations, the AEC values over Mahabaleshwar are much smaller; however, the average AEC profile suggests that the air in Mahabaleshwar is homogenous through the boundary layer. MAX-DOAS was also effective at observing high aerosol events, which compared well with ground-based samplers. Overall, this study offers insights into the aerosol distribution and vertical profiles in various regions of India and demonstrates the usefulness of MAX-DOAS in aerosol characterization in India.

Keywords: AOD, MAX-DOAS, MODIS, AERONET, Radiative forcing

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