The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) onboard the EOS-Aura satellite provides information on aerosol optical properties by making use of the large sensitivity to aerosol absorption in the near-ultraviolet (UV) spectral region. Another important advantage of using near UV observations for aerosol characterization is the low surface albedo of all terrestrial surfaces in this spectral region that reduces retrieval errors associated with land surface reflectance characterization. In spite of the 13 × 24 square kilometers coarse sensor footprint, the OMI near UV aerosol algorithm (OMAERUV) retrieves aerosol optical depth (AOD) and single-scattering albedo under cloud-free conditions from radiance measurements at 354 and 388 nanometers. We present validation results of OMI AOD against space and time collocated Aerosol Robotic Network measured AOD values over multiple stations representing major aerosol episodes and regimes. OMAERUV's performance is also evaluated with respect to those of the Aqua-MODIS Deep Blue and Terra-MISR AOD algorithms over arid and semi-arid regions in Northern Africa. The outcome of the evaluation analysis indicates that in spite of the "row anomaly" problem, affecting the sensor since mid-2007, the long-term aerosol record shows remarkable sensor stability.