The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Collection 6 (C6) aerosol optical depth (AOD) products from the 10/3 km Dark Target (DT) and Deep Blue (DB) algorithms are firstly evaluated using ground observed AODs by the sun photometer in Chongqing, a mountainous mega-city in southwest China. The validation results show that MODIS AODs from 10/3 km DT algorithm are comparable with those of the sun photometer, although there are slight overestimations. However, the DB algorithm substantially underestimates MODIS AODs when comparing with those of the sun photometer. Error analyses imply that the bias of surface reflectance estimation is the main error source for both algorithms. The cloud screening scheme of the DT algorithm is more effective than the DB algorithm. The cloud vicinity effect should be considered in the quality control processes for both of the algorithms. A sensitivity test suggests that in complex terrain area, like Chongqing, the collocation method in the validation of satellite products should be carefully selected according to local circumstances. When comparing the monthly mean AODs of MODIS products with sun photometer observations, it shows that the Terra MODIS AOD products are valid to represent the mean statuses in summer and autumn, but the monthly mean of Aqua MODIS AODs are limited in Chongqing.
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