, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 229–237 | Cite as

Variability of Albedo and Utility of the MODIS Albedo Product in Forested Wetlands

  • David M. SumnerEmail author
  • Qinglong Wu
  • Chandra S. Pathak


Albedo was monitored over a two-year period (beginning April 2008) at three forested wetland sites in Florida, USA using up- and down-ward facing pyranometers. Water level, above and below land surface, is the primary control on the temporal variability of daily albedo. Relatively low reflectivity of water accounts for the observed reductions in albedo with increased inundation of the forest floor. Enhanced canopy shading of the forest floor was responsible for lower sensitivity of albedo to water level at the most dense forest site. At one site, the most dramatic reduction in daily albedo was observed during the inundation of a highly-reflective, calcareous periphyton-covered land surface. Satellite-based Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) estimates of albedo compare favorably with measured albedo. Use of MODIS albedo values in net radiation computations introduced a root mean squared error of less than 4.7 W/m2 and a mean, annual bias of less than 2.3 W/m2 (1.7%). These results suggest that MODIS-estimated albedo values can reliably be used to capture areal and temporal variations in albedo that are important to the surface energy balance.


Net radiation Remote sensing Big Cypress National Preserve 



We gratefully acknowledgement the useful review comments of W. Barclay Shoemaker and Amy Swancar of the U. S. Geological Survey, the Associate Editor, and three anonymous reviewers.

Use of trade, product, or firm names in this publication is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or the South Florida Water Management District.


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Copyright information

© US Government 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Sumner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qinglong Wu
    • 2
  • Chandra S. Pathak
    • 2
  1. 1.US Geological SurveyOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.South Florida Water Management DistrictWest Palm BeachUSA

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