U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Remote Sensing of Environment 119 (2012) 286–300; doi:10.1016/j.rse.2012.01.004


Land surface albedo is one of the key geophysical variables controlling the surface radiation budget. In recent years, land surface albedo products have been generated using data from various satellites. However, some problems exist in those products due to either the failure of the current retrieving procedures resulting from persistent clouds and/or abrupt surface changes, or the reduced temporal or spatial coverage, which may limit their applications. Rapidly generated albedo products that help reduce the impacts of cloud contamination and improve the capture of events such as ephemeral snow and vegetation growth are in demand.

In this study, we propose a method for estimating the land surface albedo from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data using a short temporal window. Instead of executing the atmospheric correction first and then fitting the surface reflectance in the current MODIS albedo procedure, the atmospheric properties (e.g., aerosol optical depth) and surface properties (e.g., surface bidirectional reflectance) were estimated simultaneously. Validations were carried out using various data sources including ground measurements (e.g., from the Surface Radiation (SURFRAD) Network and Greenland Climate Network (GC-Net)) and MODIS AERONET-based Surface Reflectance Validation Network (MODASRVN) data. The results showed comparable albedo estimates with both MODIS data and ground measurements, and the MODASRVN instantaneous surface reflectance was in good agreement with the reflectance estimation from our method. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrievals over SURFRAD and MODASRVN sites were also compared with ground measurements. Validation results showed estimation accuracies similar to those of MODIS aerosol products.