Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (1): 35-44.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1151-5

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

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

Zhengjia LIU1,2(), Quanqin SHAO1,*(), Jian TAO1,2, Wenfeng CHI1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2013-12-28 Accepted:2014-06-09 Online:2015-01-15 Published:2015-01-15
  • Contact: Quanqin SHAO;
  • About author:

    Author: Liu Zhengjia, PhD, specialized in LUCC and land surface processes.

  • Supported by:
    National Key Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2010CB950902


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.

Key words: intra-annual pattern analysis, surface albedo, MODIS, land cover, land-use, snow cover