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Research Project: Understanding Water-Driven Ecohydrologic and Erosion Processes in the Semiarid Southwest to Improve Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Evaluation of the VIIRS BRDF, Albedo and NBAR products suite and an assessment of continuity with the long term MODIS record

item LIU, Y. - University Of Massachusetts
item WANG, Z. - Goddard Space Flight Center
item SUN, Q. - University Of Massachusetts
item ERB, A. - University Of Massachusetts
item SCHAAF, C. - University Of Massachusetts
item ZHANG, X. - South Dakota State University
item ROMAN, M.O. - Goddard Space Flight Center
item Scott, Russell - Russ
item ZHANG, Q. - University Of Indiana
item NOVICK, K.A. - University Of Indiana
item BRET-HARTE, M. - University Of Alaska
item PETROY, S. - Battelle Memorial Institute
item SANCLEMENTS, M. - Battelle Memorial Institute

Submitted to: Remote Sensing of Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/8/2017
Publication Date: 9/25/2017
Citation: Liu, Y., Wang, Z., Sun, Q., Erb, A., Schaaf, C., Zhang, X., Roman, M., Scott, R.L., Zhang, Q., Novick, K., Bret-Harte, M., Petroy, S., Sanclements, M. 2017. Evaluation of the VIIRS BRDF, Albedo and NBAR products suite and an assessment of continuity with the long term MODIS record. Remote Sensing of Environment. 201:256-274.

Interpretive Summary: The amount of solar energy that is reflected by the Earth’s surface, called albedo, is an essential climate variable to accurately model the global surface energy budget. To estimate albedo from remotely sensed observations from satellites, the intrinsic variability in the reflective character of the surface is needed. Here we compared two different satellite’s measurements of reflective character of the land surface and the algorithms that translate these reflectances into albedo. We find that the measurements from the newer satellite agree well with the older satellite and with surface observations. Thus, the goal of the new satellite, to provide a continuing, high-quality data record into the future to better understand our changing planet, is well supported.

Technical Abstract: Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) model parameters, Albedo quantities, and Nadir BRDF Adjusted Reflectance (NBAR) products derived from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), on the Suomi-NPP (National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite are evaluated through comparison with the MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) long term record and with spatially representative in situ tower albedometer measurements. Preliminary White Sky Albedo (WSA), Black Sky Albedo (BSA), NBAR, and Quality Assurance (QA) results show that the VIIRS algorithm is performing well at the global scale and provides global data products comparable with MODIS (with an absolute bias of 0.0069 for shortwave broadband WSA) despite the spectral, angular, and effective spatial resolution differences between the two sensors. Both VIIRS and MODIS albedo are shown to agree well with in situ albedo measurements at a number of spatially representative sites. This evaluation provides confidence that the high quality, daily VIIRS BRDF model parameters, Albedo, and NBAR products will be able to provide the long term continuity required by the modeling and monitoring communities.