1Department of Atmospheric Science, University of North Dakota, Grand Folks, ND, USA
2Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA, USA
3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
4UCAR Visiting Scientist Program, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Avenue, Monterey, CA 93943, USA
Abstract. As an update to our previous use of the Collection 4 Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) over-water aerosol optical depth (AOD, symbol as τ data, we examined ten years of Terra and eight years of Aqua data Collection 5 data for its potential usage in aerosol data assimilation. Uncertainties in the over-water MODIS AOD were studied as functions of observing conditions, such as surface characteristics, aerosol optical properties, and cloud artifacts. Empirical corrections and quality assurance procedures were developed and compared to Collection 4 data. After applying quality assurance and empirical correction procedures, the Root-Mean-Square-Error (RMSE) in the MODIS Terra and Aqua AOD are reduced by 30% and 10–20%, respectively. Ten years of Terra and eight years of Aqua quality-assured level 3 MODIS over-water aerosol products were produced. The newly developed MODIS over-water aerosol products will be used in operational aerosol data assimilation and aerosol climatology studies, and will also be useful to other researchers who are using the MODIS satellite products in their projects.