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Theoretical noise sensitivity of BRDF and albedo retrieval from the EOS-MODIS and MISR sensors with respect to angular sampling

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The sensitivity of the semiempirical RossThick-LiSparse Ambrals BRDF model to random noise in observed multiangular reflectances was investigated through a study of the impact of angular sampling. The mathematical properties of (linear, additive) kernel-driven BRDF models allow the analytical derivation of so-called weights of determination or noise amplification factors which quantify the uncertainty in retrieved parameters such as nadir-view reflectance or albedo at various solar zenith angles, or in the BRDF model parameters themselves. The study was carried out using simulated angular sampling for the MODIS and MISR instruments to be flown on NASA's Earth Observing System AM-1 platform, as a function of latitude, day of year and sampling period. A similar study was carried out for comparison using the modified RPV BRDF model, a multiplicative model. Results show that the retrieved parameters, reflectance and albedo can be expected to have noise amplification factors that are less than unity, indicating that the retrievals are stable with respect to random noise under the angular sampling schemes occurring. The BRDF model parameters themselves were found to be more susceptible to noise than many of the derived products, especially for the modified RPV model. The effect of different angular sampling regimes on the uncertainty of derived information was further explored. This study provides an indication of the reliability to be expected from the operational BRDF/albedo products from the MODIS and MISR instruments. The findings may qualitatively also apply to AVHRR, SPOT VEGETATION and similar satellite angular sampling regimes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 10, 2000

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