Summary Results from:

Assessment of biases in MODIS surface reflectance due to Lambertian approximation.
As they relate to the validation of MOD13

Authors: Yujie Wang, Alexei I. Lyapustin, Jeffrey L. Privette, Robert B. Cook, Suresh K. SanthanaVannan, Eric F. Vermote, and Crystal L. Schaaf

Source: Remote Sensing of Environment 114, no. 11 (2010): 2791-2801

Link to: Access Publication


Using MODIS data and the AERONET-based Surface Reflectance Validation Network (ASRVN), this work studies errors of MODIS atmospheric correction caused by the Lambertian approximation. On one hand, this approximation greatly simplifies the radiative transfer model, reduces the size of the look-up tables, and makes operational algorithm faster. On the other hand, uncompensated atmospheric scattering caused by Lambertian model systematically biases the results. For example, for a typical bowl-shaped bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF), the derived reflectance is underestimated at high solar or view zenith angles, where BRDF is high, and is overestimated at low zenith angles where BRDF is low. The magnitude of biases grows with the amount of scattering in the atmosphere, i.e., at shorter wavelengths and at higher aerosol concentration. The slope of regression of Lambertian surface reflectance vs. ASRVN bidirectional reflectance factor (BRF) is about 0.85 in the red and 0.6 in the green bands. This error propagates into the MODIS BRDF/albedo algorithm, slightly reducing the magnitude of overall reflectance and anisotropy of BRDF. This results in a small negative bias of spectral surface albedo. An assessment for the GSFC (Greenbelt, USA) validation site shows the albedo reduction by 0.004 in the near infrared, 0.005 in the red, and 0.008 in the green MODIS bands.