Top-of-Atmosphere Clear-Sky Albedo Estimation over Ocean: Preliminary Framework for MODIS

Zhen Song, Shunlin Liang, Hongmin Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Top-of-atmosphere (TOA) albedo is a significant factor of earth energy budget, climate change, and environmental change. As tremendous regional and global changes are happening over ocean, more details are needed to monitor the ocean environment. However, there were still no high-spatial resolution TOA albedo products over ocean. In this study, a new algorithm for clear-sky TOA albedo estimation over ocean was proposed, based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. Instead of building angular distribution models, direct retrieval models between TOA reflectance and TOA albedo were developed based on extensive radiative transfer (RT) simulations, covering thousands of ocean and atmosphere types. Three-component ocean water albedo model was involved to take account for the ocean surface anisotropy at different wind speed, wind direction, and chlorophyll concentration, while Modtran 5 was utilized to simulate different atmospheric conditions. Our results showed good agreement with the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) based on a global comparison on August 4, 2011, with RMSE = 0.015 and bias = 0.002. And our MODIS-based products provide more spatial details due to higher spatial resolution (1 km), which will be a good data source for regional environmental and climatic research and will also enhance the understanding of Earth's radiation budget.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
StatePublished - 2022


  • Climate change
  • Energy budget
  • Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
  • Ocean bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF)
  • Radiative transfer (RT) simulations
  • Top-of-atmosphere (TOA) albedo


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