1Laboratory of Meteorology, Department of Physics, University of Ioannina, 45110, Ioannina, Greece
2Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, Mytilene, Greece
3Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
4Physics Department, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Abstract. The new global aerosol climatology named HAC (Hamburg Aerosol Climatology) is compared against MODIS (Collection 5, 2000–2007) and CALIOP (Level 2-version 3, 2006–2011) retrievals. The comparison of aerosol optical depth (AOD) from HAC against MODIS shows larger HAC AOD values over regions with higher aerosol loads and smaller HAC AOD values than MODIS for regions with lower loads. The HAC data are found to be more reliable over land and for low AOD values. The largest differences between HAC and MODIS occur from March to August for the Northern Hemisphere and from September to February for the Southern Hemisphere. In addition, both the spectral variability and vertical distribution of the HAC AOD are examined at selected AERONET (1998–2007) sites, representative of main aerosol types (pollutants, sea salt, biomass and dust). Based on comparisons against spectral AOD values from AERONET, the mean absolute percentage error in HAC AOD data is 25% at ultraviolet wavelengths (400 nm), 6–12% at visible and 18% at near-infrared (1000 nm). For the same AERONET sites, the HAC AOD vertical distribution is compared against CALIOP space lidar data. On a daily average basis, HAD AOD is less by 9% in the lowest 3 km than CALIOP values, especially for sites with biomass burning smoke, desert dust and sea salt spray. Above the boundary layer, the HAC AOD vertical distribution is reliable.