Main content area

Albedo and reflectance anisotropy retrieval from AVHRR operated onboard NOAA and MetOp satellites: Algorithm performance and accuracy assessment for Europe

Sütterlin, M., Schaaf, C.B., Stöckli, R., Sun, Q., Hüsler, F., Neuhaus, C., Wunderle, S.
Remote sensing of environment 2015 v.168 pp. 163-176
albedo (reflectance), algorithms, climate, data collection, growing season, meteorological data, models, moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer, monitoring, remote sensing, satellites, seasonal variation, vegetation, Switzerland
In this study, the land surface albedo together with its Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) are retrieved for the years 2000 to 2012 from Local Area Coverage (LAC) surface reflectance data gathered by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) over Europe. For the retrieval the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) BRDF/albedo processing scheme is employed. The comparatively high revisit frequency and high variability in angular sampling of the AVHRR sensors operated simultaneously onboard the different National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Meteorological Operational (MetOp) satellites contribute substantially to the success and quality of BRDF retrieval. The performance of the BRDF model for AVHRR data is assessed by comparison to MODIS BRDF retrievals, and the AVHRR BRDF reflectance data is validated against BRDF reflectance data from MODIS and in situ data gathered at three field sites in Switzerland. The comparison shows that the AVHRR BRDF retrievals are of high quality across most of Europe. The higher angular sampling of AVHRR allows for more full model retrievals of best quality and generates less fill values compared to MODIS. For most of the years investigated, the absolute accuracy of the AVHRR albedos is found to be within 0.05 throughout the complete seasonal cycle with a minimum bias at the peak of the growing season. However, they systematically underestimate the field-measured albedos, predominantly in winter due to spatial scale mismatch in combination with site heterogeneity and because the expression for the calculation of satellite-based blue-sky albedo does not account for multiple scattering. A slightly increased underestimation also occurs during vegetation senescence, presumably because of the narrow to broadband conversion employing only two bands. Overall, the results confirm the potential of AVHRR to produce multi-decadal data sets of reflectance anisotropy and albedo for use in climate monitoring and modeling studies. This offers a promising and unique opportunity to produce a BRDF/albedo climate data record from AVHRR dating back to 1985.