Melin, F, Clerici, M, Zibordi, G, Holben, BN, Smirnov, A (2010). Validation of SeaWiFS and MODIS aerosol products with globally distributed AERONET data. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 114(2), 230-250.
The validation of aerosol products derived from ocean color missions is required for the assessment of their uncertainties and as a diagnostic for the atmospheric correction schemes used for determining the ocean apparent optical properties. A comprehensive validation of the aerosol products obtained from the ocean color missions SeaWiFS and MODIS is presented; it relies on the field observations collected at 85 AERONET sites and is completed by preliminary results obtained with the data of the maritime AERONET component. A robust match-up selection protocol yields approximately 7000 match-ups for each sensor. The median absolute relative difference for the aerosol optical thickness tau(a) increases from 20-22% at 443 nm to 45-48% in the near-infrared. The validation statistics are comparable for both sensors but MODIS results appear degraded particularly for sites located on isolated islands. The median absolute difference is approximately 0.03 at all wavelengths. Results are further analyzed for specific geographic regions or groups of sites selected to represent oceanic, continental, or desert dust conditions. Importantly, the match-up sets appear generally representative of the regional natural variability in tau(a) amplitude and spectral shape, with the notable exception of high tau(a) conditions that are excluded. An important finding is the underestimate by the atmospheric correction of the Angstrom exponent alpha with a median bias of -0.52. This underestimate is apparent even at low alpha values and regularly increases with alpha. This discrepancy in tau(a) spectral shape might result from an inappropriate set of candidate aerosol models and/or uncertainties in the calibration at the near-infrared bands. As the validation data base is expanded and updated in relation to new versions of the processing chains, this work provides a benchmark for the assessment of the aerosol products derived from the SeaWiFS and MODIS ocean color missions. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.