New vegetation albedo parameters and global fields of soil background albedo derived from MODIS for use in a climate model

Houldcroft, Caroline J.; Grey, William M. F.; Barnsley, Mike; Taylor, Christopher M.; Los, Sietse O.; North, Peter R. J.. 2009 New vegetation albedo parameters and global fields of soil background albedo derived from MODIS for use in a climate model. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 10 (1). 183-198.

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New values are derived for snow-free albedo of six Plant Functional Types (PFTs) and the soil/litter substrate from data acquired by the MODIS sensors on board Terra and Aqua. The derived albedo values are used to provide and test an improved specification of surface albedo for the land surface scheme known as JULES that forms part of the HadGEM climate model. The International-Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) global land-cover map is used in combination with the MODIS albedo to estimate albedo of each cover type in the IGBP classification scheme, from which the albedo values of the JULES PFTs are computed. The albedo of the soil/litter substrate, referred to as the soil background albedo, is derived for partially vegetated regions using a method that separates the vegetation contribution to the albedo signal from that of the soil/litter substrate. The global fields of soil background albedo produced using this method exhibit more realistic spatial variations than the soil albedo map usually employed in conjunction with the JULES model. The revised total shortwave albedo values of the PFTs are up to 8% higher than those in the existing HadGEM scheme. To evaluate the impact of these differences upon surface albedo in the climate model, differences are computed globally between mean monthly land-surface albedo, modelled using the existing and revised albedo values, and MODIS data. Incorporating the revised albedo values into the model reduces the global rmse for snow-free July land-surface albedo from 0.051 to 0.024, representing a marked improvement on the existing parameterization.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > CC01B Land-surface Feedbacks in the Climate System
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Harding (to July 2011)
ISSN: 1525-755X
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 10 Mar 2009 14:38 +0 (UTC)

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