Surface albedo is of crucial interest in land–climate interaction studies, since it is a key parameter that affects the Earth’s radiation budget. The temporal and spatial variation of surface albedo can be retrieved from conventional satellite observations after a series of processes, including atmospheric correction to surface spectral bi-directional reflectance factor (BRF), bi-directional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) modelling using these BRFs, and, where required, narrow-to-broadband albedo conversions. This processing chain introduces errors that can be accumulated and then affect the accuracy of the retrieved albedo products. In this study, the albedo products derived from the multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR), moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Copernicus Global Land Service (CGLS), based on the VEGETATION and now the PROBA-V sensors, are compared with albedometer and upscaled in situ measurements from 19 tower sites from the FLUXNET network, surface radiation budget network (SURFRAD) and Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) networks. The MISR sensor onboard the Terra satellite has 9 cameras at different view angles, which allows a near-simultaneous retrieval of surface albedo. Using a 16-day retrieval algorithm, the MODIS generates the daily albedo products (MCD43A) at a 500-m resolution. The CGLS albedo products are derived from the VEGETATION and PROBA-V, and updated every 10 days using a weighted 30-day window. We describe a newly developed method to derive the two types of albedo, which are directional hemispherical reflectance (DHR) and bi-hemispherical reflectance (BHR), directly from three tower-measured variables of shortwave radiation: downwelling, upwelling and diffuse shortwave radiation. In the validation process, the MISR, MODIS and CGLS-derived albedos (DHR and BHR) are first compared with tower measured albedos, using pixel-to-point analysis, between 2012 to 2016. The tower measured point albedos are then upscaled to coarse-resolution albedos, based on atmospherically corrected BRFs from high-resolution Earth observation (HR-EO) data, alongside MODIS BRDF climatology from a larger area. Then a pixel-to-pixel comparison is performed between DHR and BHR retrieved from coarse-resolution satellite observations and DHR and BHR upscaled from accurate tower measurements. The experimental results are presented on exploring the parameter space associated with land cover type, heterogeneous vs. homogeneous and instantaneous vs. time composite retrievals of surface albedo.
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