1BAER Institute/NASA Ames, 4742 Suffolk Ct., Ventura, CA 93003, USA
2NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681, USA
3NASA Ames Research Center, MS 245-5, Bldg. 245, P.O. Box 1, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
4SRI, International, 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
5NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, code 613.2, Bldg. 33, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Abstract. We assess the consistency between instantaneously collocated level-2 aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrievals from MODIS-Aqua (C5) and CALIOP (Version 2 & 3), comparing the standard MODIS AOD (MYD04_L2) data to the AOD calculated from CALIOP aerosol extinction profiles for both the previous release (V2) and the latest release (V3) of CALIOP data. Based on data collected in January 2007, we investigate the most useful criteria for screening the MODIS and CALIOP retrievals to achieve the best agreement between the two data sets. Applying these criteria to eight months of data (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct 2007 and 2009), we find an order of magnitude increase for the CALIOP V3 data density (by comparison to V2), that is generally accompanied by equal or better agreement with MODIS AOD. Differences in global, monthly mean, over-ocean AOD (532 nm) between CALIOP and MODIS range between 0.03 and 0.04 for CALIOP V3, with CALIOP generally biased low, when all available data from both sensors are considered. Root-mean-squares (RMS) differences in instantaneously collocated AOD retrievals by the two instruments are reduced from values ranging between 0.14 and 0.19 using the unscreened V3 data to values ranging from 0.09 to 0.1 for the screened data. A restriction to scenes with cloud fractions less than 1% (as defined in the MODIS aerosol retrievals) generally results in improved correlation (R2>0.5), except for the month of July when correlations remain relatively lower. Regional assessments show hot spots in disagreement between the two sensors in Asian outflow during April and off the coast of South Africa in July.