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Characterizing Land Surface Anisotropic Reflectance over Rugged Terrain: A Review of Concepts and Recent Developments

1,2,3,*, 2,4, 1,3, 1,2,3, 1,2, 1,3, 1,3 and 1,3
State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Joint Center for Global Change Studies (JCGCS), Beijing 100875, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(3), 370;
Received: 24 December 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
PDF [5292 KB, uploaded 27 February 2018]


Rugged terrain, including mountains, hills, and some high lands are typical land surfaces around the world. As a physical parameter for characterizing the anisotropic reflectance of the land surface, the importance of the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) has been gradually recognized in the remote sensing community, and great efforts have been dedicated to build BRDF models over various terrain types. However, on rugged terrain, the topography intensely affects the shape and magnitude of the BRDF and creates challenges in modeling the BRDF. In this paper, after a brief introduction of the theoretical background of the BRDF over rugged terrain, the status of estimating land surface BRDF properties over rugged terrain is comprehensively reviewed from a historical perspective and summarized in two categories: BRDFs describing solo slopes and those describing composite slopes. The discussion focuses on land surface reflectance retrieval over mountainous areas, the difference in solo slope and composite slope BRDF models, and suggested future research to improve the accuracy of BRDFs derived with remote sensing satellites. View Full-Text
Keywords: anisotropic reflectance; BRDF; rugged terrain; solo slope; composite slope anisotropic reflectance; BRDF; rugged terrain; solo slope; composite slope

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Wen, J.; Liu, Q.; Xiao, Q.; Liu, Q.; You, D.; Hao, D.; Wu, S.; Lin, X. Characterizing Land Surface Anisotropic Reflectance over Rugged Terrain: A Review of Concepts and Recent Developments. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 370.

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