Natural Resources, School of



Jeffrey Reid, Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CAFollow
Edward Hyer, Naval Research LaboratoryFollow
Randall Johnson, University of North Dakota
B. N. Holben, NASA Doddard Space Flight Center
Robert Yokelson, University of Montana - Missoula
Jianglong Zhang, University of North Dakota
James Campbell, Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA
Sundar Christopher, University of Alabama - Huntsville
Larry DiGirolamo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Louis Giglio, University of Maryland - College Park
Robert Holz, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Courtney Kearney, Ocean Sciences Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis, MS
Jukka Miettinen, National University of Singapore
Elizabeth Reid, Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA
F. Joseph Turk, California Institute of Technology
Jun Wang, University of Nebraska-LincolnFollow
Peng Xian, ASEE Fellow, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA
Guangyu Zhao, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champlain
Rajasekhar Balasubramanian, National University of Singapore
Boon Ning Chew, National University of Singapore
Serm Janjai, Silpakorn University
Nofel Lagrosas, Ateneo de Manila University
Puji Lestari, Bandung Institute of Technology
Neng-Huei Lin, National Central University
Mastura Mahmud, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Anh X. Nguyen, Academy of Science and Technology
Bethany Norris, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champlain
Nguyen T.K. Oanth, Asian Institute of Technology
Min Oo, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Santo V. Salinas, National University of Singapore
E. Judd Welton, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Soo Chin Liew, National University of Singapore

Document Type


Date of this Version



Atmospheric Research 122 (2013) 403–468


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Southeast Asia (SEA) hosts one of the most complex aerosol systems in the world, with convoluted meteorological scales, sharp geographic and socioeconomic features, high biological productivity, mixtures of a wide range of atmospheric pollutants, and likely a significant susceptibility to global climate change. This physical complexity of SEA is coupled with one of the world's most challenging environments for both in situ and remote sensing observation. The 7-Southeast Asian Studies (7SEAS) program was formed to facilitate interdisciplinary research into the integrated SEA aerosol environment via grass roots style collaboration. In support of the early 7SEAS program and the affiliated Southeast Asia Composition, Cloud, Climate Coupling Regional Study (SEAC4RS), this review was created to outline the network of connections linking aerosol particles in SEA with meteorology, climate and the total earth system. In this review, we focus on and repeatedly link back to our primary data source: satellite aerosol remote sensing and associated observability issues. We begin with a brief rationale for the program, outlining key aerosol impacts and, comparing their magnitudes to the relative uncertainty of observations. We then discuss aspects of SEA's physical, socio-economic and biological geography relevant to meteorology and observability issues associated with clouds and precipitation. We show that not only does SEA pose significant observability challenges for aerosol particles, but for clouds and precipitation aswell. With the fundamentals of the environment outlined, we explore SEA's most studied aerosol issue: biomass burning. We summarize research on bulk aerosol properties for SEA, including a short synopsis of recent AERONET observations. We describe long range transport patterns. Finally, considerable attention is paid to satellite aerosol observability issues, with a face value comparison of common aerosol products in the region including passive and active aerosol products as well as fluxes. Weshowthat satellite data products diverge greatly due to a host of known artifacts. These artifacts have important implications for how research is conducted, and care must be taken when using satellite products to study aerosol problems. The paper ends with a discussion of how the community can approach this complex and important environment.