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Development and validation of a snow albedo algorithm for the MODIS instrument

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A prototype snow albedo algorithm has been developed for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). It complements existing MODIS products by providing albedo measurements for areas mapped as snow on a global daily basis by MODIS. Cloud detection and atmospheric correction are accomplished using existing MODIS products. Models of the bidirectional reflectance of snow created using a discreteordinate radiative transfer (DISORT) model are used to correct for anisotropic scattering effects over non-forested surfaces. Initial algorithm validation is undertaken through comparisons with broadband albedo measurements made at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Surface Radiation Budget Network (SURFRAD) site in Fort Peck, MT. In situ SURFRAD albedo measurements are compared to daily MODIS snow albedo retrievals for the period 21-26 November 2000 created from five narrow-to-broadband albedo conversion schemes. The prototype MODIS algorithm produces reasonable broadband albedo estimates. Maximum daily differences between the five MODIS broadband albedo retrievals and in situ albedo are 15%. Daily differences between the "best" MODIS broadband estimate and the measured SURFRAD albedo are 1-8%. However, no single conversion scheme consistently provides the closest albedo estimate. Further validation and algorithm development using data from North America and Greenland is ongoing.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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