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Comparison of MODIS broadband albedo over an agricultural site with ground measurements and values derived from Earth observation data at a range of spatial scales

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Land surface albedo is dependent on atmospheric state and hence is difficult to validate. Over the UK persistent cloud cover and land cover heterogeneity at moderate (km-scale) spatial resolution can also complicate comparison of field-measured albedo with that derived from instruments such as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). A practical method of comparing moderate resolution satellite-derived albedo with ground-based measurements over an agricultural site in the UK is presented. Point measurements of albedo made on the ground are scaled up to the MODIS resolution (1 km) through reflectance data obtained at a range of spatial scales. The point measurements of albedo agreed in magnitude with MODIS values over the test site to within a few per cent, despite problems such as persistent cloud cover and the difficulties of comparing measurements made during different years. Albedo values derived from airborne and field-measured data were generally lower than the corresponding satellite-derived values. This is thought to be due to assumptions made regarding the ratio of direct to diffuse illumination used when calculating albedo from reflectance. Measurements of albedo calculated for specific times fitted closely to the trajectories of temporal albedo derived from both Systeme pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) Vegetation (VGT) and MODIS instruments.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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