Summary Results from:

Use of Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer bidirectional reflectance distribution function products to enhance simulated surface albedos
As they relate to the validation of MOD43

Authors: Andreas Roesch, Crystal Schaaf, and Feng Gao

Source: J. Geophys. Res., 109, D12105, doi:10.1029/2004JD004552, 2004

Link to: Access Publication


Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) surface albedo at high spatial and spectral resolution is compared with other remotely sensed climatologies, ground-based data, and albedos simulated with the European Center/Hamburg 4 (ECHAM4) global climate model at T42 resolution. The study demonstrates the importance of MODIS data in assessing and improving albedo parameterizations in weather forecast and climate models. The remotely sensed PINKER surface albedo climatology follows the MODIS estimates fairly well in both the visible and near-infrared spectra, whereas ECHAM4 simulates high positive albedo biases over snow-covered boreal forests and the Himalayas. In contrast, the ECHAM4 albedo is probably too low over the Sahara sand desert and adjacent steppes. The study clearly indicates that neglecting albedo variations within T42 grid boxes leads to significant errors in the simulated regional climate and horizontal fluxes, mainly in mountainous and/or snow-covered regions. MODIS surface albedo at 0.05 resolution agrees quite well with in situ field measurements collected at Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) sites during snow-free periods, while significant positive biases are found under snow-covered conditions, mainly due to differences in the vegetation cover at the BSRN site (short grass) and the vegetation within the larger MODIS grid box. Black sky (direct beam) albedo from the MODIS bidirectional reflectance distribution function model captures the diurnal albedo cycle at BSRN sites with sufficient accuracy. The greatest negative biases are generally found when the Sun is low. A realistic approach for relating albedo and zenith angle has been proposed. Detailed evaluations have demonstrated that ignoring the zenith angle dependence may lead to significant errors in the surface energy balance.