Characterization of seasonal variation of forest canopy in a temperate deciduous broadleaf forest, using daily MODIS data

Qingyuan Zhang, Xiangming Xiao, Bobby Braswell, Ernst Linder, Scott Ollinger, Marie Louise Smith, Julian P. Jenkins, Fred Baret, Andrew D. Richardson, Berrien Moore, Rakesh Minocha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present an improved procedure for collecting no or little atmosphere- and snow-contaminated observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor. The resultant time series of daily MODIS data of a temperate deciduous broadleaf forest (the Bartlett Experimental Forest) in 2004 show strong seasonal dynamics of surface reflectance of green, near infrared and shortwave infrared bands, and clearly delineate leaf phenology and length of plant growing season. We also estimate the fractions of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) absorbed by vegetation canopy (FAPARcanopy), leaf (FAPARleaf), and chlorophyll (FAPARchl), respectively, using a coupled leaf-canopy radiative transfer model (PROSAIL-2) and daily MODIS data. The Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method (the Metropolis algorithm) is used for model inversion, which provides probability distributions of the retrieved variables. A two-step procedure is used to estimate the fractions of absorbed PAR: (1) to retrieve biophysical and biochemical variables from MODIS images using the PROSAIL-2 model; and (2) to calculate the fractions with the estimated model variables from the first step. Inversion and forward simulations of the PROSAIL-2 model are carried out for the temperate deciduous broadleaf forest during day of year (DOY) 184 to 201 in 2005. The reproduced reflectance values from the PROSAIL-2 model agree well with the observed MODIS reflectance for the five spectral bands (green, red, NIR1, NIR2, and SWIR1). The estimated leaf area index, leaf dry matter, leaf chlorophyll content and FAPARcanopy values are close to field measurements at the site. The results also showed significant differences between FAPARcanopy and FAPARchl at the site. Our results show that MODIS imagery provides important information on biophysical and biochemical variables at both leaf and canopy levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-203
Number of pages15
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 15 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmosphere contamination
  • Bartlett Experimental Forest
  • Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method
  • Phenology
  • SAIL-2
  • Snow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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