Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 35–44 | Cite as

Intra-annual variability of satellite observed surface albedo associated with typical land cover types in China

  • Zhengjia Liu
  • Quanqin Shao
  • Jian Tao
  • Wenfeng Chi


Surface albedo is a primary causative variable associated with the process of surface energy exchange. Numerous studies have examined diurnal variation of surface albedo at a regional scale; however, few studies have analyzed the intra-annual variations of surface albedo in concurrence with different land cover types. In this study, we amalgamated surface albedo product data (MCD43) from 2001 to 2008, land-use data (in 2000 and 2008) and land cover data (in 2000); quantitative analyses of surface albedo variation pertaining to diverse land cover types and the effect of the presence/absence of ground snow were undertaken. Results indicate that intra-annual surface albedo values exhibit flat Gaussian or triangular distributions depending upon land cover types. During snow-free periods, satellite observed surface albedo associated with the non-growing season was lower than that associated with the growing season. Satellite observed surface albedo during the presence of ground snow period was 2–4 times higher than that observed during snow-free periods. Surface albedo reference values in typical land cover types have been calculated; notably, grassland, cropland and built-up land were associated with higher surface albedo reference values than barren while ground snow was present. Irrespective of land cover types, the lowest surface albedo reference values were associated with forested areas. Proposed reference values may prove extremely useful in diverse research areas, including ecological modeling, land surface process modeling and radiation energy balance applications.


intra-annual pattern analysis surface albedo MODIS land cover land-use snow cover 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhengjia Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Quanqin Shao
    • 1
  • Jian Tao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenfeng Chi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchCASBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy SciencesBeijingChina

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