Articles | Volume 5, issue 9
Research article
05 Sep 2012
Research article |  | 05 Sep 2012

Evaluating nighttime CALIOP 0.532 μm aerosol optical depth and extinction coefficient retrievals

J. R. Campbell, J. L. Tackett, J. S. Reid, J. Zhang, C. A. Curtis, E. J. Hyer, W. R. Sessions, D. L. Westphal, J. M. Prospero, E. J. Welton, A. H. Omar, M. A. Vaughan, and D. M. Winker

Abstract. NASA Cloud Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) Version 3.01 5-km nighttime 0.532 μm aerosol optical depth (AOD) datasets from 2007 are screened, averaged and evaluated at 1° × 1° resolution versus corresponding/co-incident 0.550 μm AOD derived using the US Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System (NAAPS), featuring two-dimensional variational assimilation of quality-assured NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) AOD. In the absence of sunlight, since passive radiometric AOD retrievals rely overwhelmingly on scattered radiances, the model represents one of the few practical global estimates available from which to attempt such a validation. Daytime comparisons, though, provide useful context. Regional-mean CALIOP vertical profiles of night/day 0.532 μm extinction coefficient are compared with 0.523/0.532 μm ground-based lidar measurements to investigate representativeness and diurnal variability. In this analysis, mean nighttime CALIOP AOD are mostly lower than daytime (0.121 vs. 0.126 for all aggregated data points, and 0.099 vs. 0.102 when averaged globally per normalised 1° × 1° bin), though the relationship is reversed over land and coastal regions when the data are averaged per normalised bin (0.134/0.108 vs. 0140/0.112, respectively). Offsets assessed within single bins alone approach ±20%. CALIOP AOD, both day and night, are higher than NAAPS over land (0.137 vs. 0.124) and equal over water (0.082 vs. 0.083) when averaged globally per normalised bin. However, for all data points inclusive, NAAPS exceeds CALIOP over land, coast and ocean, both day and night. Again, differences assessed within single bins approach 50% in extreme cases. Correlation between CALIOP and NAAPS AOD is comparable during both day and night. Higher correlation is found nearest the equator, both as a function of sample size and relative signal magnitudes inherent at these latitudes. Root mean square deviation between CALIOP and NAAPS varies between 0.1 and 0.3 globally during both day/night. Averaging of CALIOP along-track AOD data points within a single NAAPS grid bin improves correlation and RMSD, though day/night and land/ocean biases persist and are believed systematic. Vertical profiles of extinction coefficient derived in the Caribbean compare well with ground-based lidar observations, though potentially anomalous selection of a priori lidar ratios for CALIOP retrievals is likely inducing some discrepancies. Mean effective aerosol layer top heights are stable between day and night, indicating consistent layer-identification diurnally, which is noteworthy considering the potential limiting effects of ambient solar noise during day.