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Combining NLCD and MODIS to create a land cover-albedo database for the continental United States

December 1, 2015

Land surface albedo is an essential climate variable that is tightly linked to land cover, such that specific land cover classes (e.g., deciduous broadleaf forest, cropland) have characteristic albedos. Despite the normative of land-cover class specific albedos, there is considerable variability in albedo within a land cover class. The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) albedo product were combined to produce a long-term (14 years) integrated land cover-albedo database for the continental United States that can be used to examine the temporal behavior of albedo as a function of land cover. The integration identifies areas of homogeneous land cover at the nominal spatial resolution of the MODIS (MCD43A) albedo product (500 m × 500 m) from the NLCD product (30 m × 30 m), and provides an albedo data record per 500 m × 500 m pixel for 14 of the 16 NLCD land cover classes. Individual homogeneous land cover pixels have up to 605 albedo observations, and 75% of the pixels have at least 319 MODIS albedo observations (≥ 50% of the maximum possible number of observations) for the study period (2000–2013). We demonstrated the utility of the database by conducting a multivariate analysis of variance of albedo for each NLCD land cover class, showing that locational (pixel-to-pixel) and inter-annual variability were significant factors in addition to expected seasonal (intra-annual) and geographic (latitudinal) effects.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Combining NLCD and MODIS to create a land cover-albedo database for the continental United States
DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2015.09.012
Authors J. Wickham, Christopher A. Barnes, M.S. Nash, T.G. Wade
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Remote Sensing of Environment
Series Number
Index ID 70191099
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center

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