The European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Aerosol Climate Change Initiative (CCI) project intends to exploit the robust, long-term, global aerosol optical thickness (AOT) dataset from Europe’s satellite observations. Newly released Swansea University (SU) aerosol products include ATSR-2 (1995-2003) and AATSR(2002-2012) retrieval with a spatial resolution of 10 km. Recently an experimental version of a retrieval using AATSR/MERIS synergy was developed to provide four months of data for initial testing. In this study, both AATSR retrieval (SU/AATSR) and AATSR/MERIS synergy retrieval (SU/synergy) datasets are validated globally using Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) observations for March, June, September, and December 2008, as suggested by the Aerosol-CCI project. The analysis includes the impacts of cloud screening, surface parameterization, and aerosol type selections for two datasets under different surface and atmospheric conditions. The comparison between SU/AATSR and SU/synergy shows very accurate and consistent global patterns. The global evaluation using AERONET shows that the SU/AATSR product exhibits slightly better agreement with AERONET than the SU/synergy product. SU/synergy retrieval overestimates AOT for all surface and aerosol conditions. SU/AATSR data is much more stable and has better quality; it slightly underestimates fine-mode dominated and absorbing AOTs yet slightly overestimates coarse-mode dominated and non-absorbing AOTs.
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