Air pollution can endanger human health, especially in urban areas. Assessment of air quality primarily relies on ground-based measurements, but these provide only limited information on the spatial distribution of pollutants. In recent years, satellite derived Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) has been used to approximate particulate matter (PM) with varying success. In this study, the relationship between hourly mean concentrations of particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less (PM10) and instantaneous AOD measurements is investigated for Berlin, Germany, for 2001–2015. It is found that the relationship between AOD and PM10 is rarely linear and strongly influenced by ambient relative humidity (RH), boundary layer height (BLH), wind direction and wind speed. Generally, when a moderately dry atmosphere (30% < RH ≤ 50%) coincides with a medium BLH (600–1200 m), AOD and PM10 are in the same range on a semi-quantitative scale. AOD increases with ambient RH, leading to an overestimation of the dry particle concentration near ground. However, this effect can be compensated if a low boundary layer (<600 m) is present, which in turn significantly increases PM10, eventually leading to satellite AOD and PM10 measurements of similar magnitude. ... mehrInsights of this study potentially influence future efforts to estimate near-ground PM concentrations based on satellite AOD.