Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Research article
01 Feb 2011
Research article |  | 01 Feb 2011

Intercomparison of column aerosol optical depths from CALIPSO and MODIS-Aqua

C. Kittaka, D. M. Winker, M. A. Vaughan, A. Omar, and L. A. Remer

Abstract. The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) is carried on the CALIPSO satellite and has acquired global aerosol profiles since June 2006. CALIPSO is flown in formation with the Aqua satellite as part of the A-train satellite constellation, so that a large number of coincident aerosol observations are available from CALIOP and the MODIS-Aqua instrument. This study compares column aerosol optical depth at 0.532 μm derived from CALIOP aerosol profiles with MODIS-Aqua 0.55 μm aerosol optical depth over the period June 2006 through August 2008. The study is based on the CALIOP Version 2 Aerosol Layer Product and MODIS Collection 5. While CALIOP is first and foremost a profiling instrument, this comparison of column aerosol optical depth provides insight into quality of CALIOP aerosol data. It is found that daytime aerosol optical depth from the CALIOP Version 2 product has only a small global mean bias relative to MODIS Collection 5. Regional biases, of both signs, are larger and biases are seen to vary somewhat with season. Good agreement between the two sensors in ocean regions with low cloudiness suggests that the selection of lidar ratios used in the CALIOP aerosol retrieval is sufficient to provide a regional mean AOD consistent with that retrieved from MODIS. Although differences over land are observed to be larger than over ocean, the bias between CALIOP and MODIS AOD on a regional-seasonal basis is found to be roughly within the envelope of the MODIS expected uncertainty over land and ocean. This work forms a basis for further comparisons using the recently released CALIOP Version 3 data.