Summary Results from:

Seasonal and inter-annual variation in view angle effects on MODIS vegetation indices at three forest sites.
As they relate to the validation of MOD13

Authors: Daniel A. Sims, Abdullah F. Rahman, Eric F. Vermote, and Zuoning Jiang

Source: Remote Sensing of Environment 115, no. 12 (2011): 3112-3120.

Link to: Access Publication


The bi-directional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) has been widely studied across different vegetation types. However, these studies generally report values for only one point in time. We were interested in the potential for seasonal and inter-annual variation in BRDF parameters. NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on board the EOS satellites has now been collecting data for 10 years. Since BRDF parameters are reported for the individual spectral bands, these data can be used to examine intra-annual variation. However, MODIS BRDF parameters are not calculated for the various vegetation indices which are derived from the spectral bands. Our objective in this study was to use the 10 years of MODIS data now available to examine seasonal and inter-annual variation in the view angle sensitivity of three vegetation indices; the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), and the photochemical reflectance index (PRI) at 3 flux tower sites (Harvard Forest, Howland Forest and Morgan Monroe State Forest). For these 3 sites, only EVI was significantly affected by view angle. There was also a substantial variation in the view angle sensitivity of EVI across seasons and this variation was different for backscatter vs. forward scatter data. It is possible that differences in the scattering of radiation between the spring and the fall are responsible for the seasonal difference in view angle sensitivity. There were also complimentary variations in forward and backscatter view angle sensitivity of EVI across years. The greater view angle sensitivity of EVI, as opposed to NDVI, suggests that greater care must be taken to correct for BRDF effects when using this vegetation index.