Evaluation of MODIS albedo product (MCD43A) over grassland, agriculture and forest surface types during dormant and snow-covered periods

Zhuosen Wang, Crystal B. Schaaf, Alan H. Strahler, Mark J. Chopping, Miguel O. Román, Yanmin Shuai, Curtis E. Woodcock, David Y. Hollinger, David R. Fitzjarrald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


This study assesses the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) BRDF/albedo 8. day standard product and products from the daily Direct Broadcast BRDF/albedo algorithm, and shows that these products agree well with ground-based albedo measurements during the more difficult periods of vegetation dormancy and snow cover. Cropland, grassland, deciduous and coniferous forests are considered. Using an integrated validation strategy, analyses of the representativeness of the surface heterogeneity under both dormant and snow-covered situations are performed to decide whether direct comparisons between ground measurements and 500-m satellite observations can be made or whether finer spatial resolution airborne or spaceborne data are required to scale the results at each location. Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM. +) data are used to generate finer scale representations of albedo at each location to fully link ground data with satellite data. In general, results indicate the root mean square errors (RMSEs) are less than 0.030 over spatially representative sites of agriculture/grassland during the dormant periods and less than 0.050 during the snow-covered periods for MCD43A albedo products. For forest, the RMSEs are less than 0.020 during the dormant period and 0.025 during the snow-covered periods. However, a daily retrieval strategy is necessary to capture ephemeral snow events or rapidly changing situations such as the spring snow melt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-77
Number of pages18
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Forest
  • Grassland
  • MODIS standard and daily albedo product
  • Snow albedo
  • Spatial representativeness


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