Multiscale analysis and validation of the MODIS LAI product: I. Uncertainty assessment

Yuhong Tian, Curtis E. Woodcock, Yujie Wang, Jeff L. Privette, Nikolay V. Shabanov, Liming Zhou, Yu Zhang, Wolfgang Buermann, Jiarui Dong, Brita Veikkanen, Tuomas Häme, Kaj Andersson, Mutlu Ozdogan, Yuri Knyazikhin, Ranga B. Myneni

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    192 Citations (Scopus)


    The development of appropriate ground-based validation techniques is critical to assessing uncertainties associated with satellite data-based products. Here we present a method for validation of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Leaf Area Index (LAI) product with emphasis on the sampling strategy for field data collection.
    This paper, the first of two-part series, details the procedures used to assess uncertainty of the MODIS LAI product. LAI retrievals from 30 m ETM+ data were first compared to field measurements from the SAFARI 2000 wet season campaign. The ETM+ based LAI map was thus as a reference to specify uncertainties in the LAI fields produced from MODIS data (250-, 500-, and 1000-m resolutions) simulated from ETM+. Because of high variance of LAI measurements over short distances and difficulties of matching measurements and image data, a patch-by-patch comparison method, which is more realistically implemented on a routine basis for validation, is proposed.
    Consistency between LAI retrievals from 30 m ETM+ data and field measurements indicates satisfactory performance of the algorithm. Values of LAI estimated from a spatially heterogeneous scene depend strongly on the spatial resolution of the image scene. The results indicate that the MODIS algorithm will underestimate LAI values by about 5% over the Maun site if the scale of the algorithm is not matched to the resolution of the data.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)414-430
    JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • MODIS
    • validation
    • satellite
    • satellite images
    • LAI
    • leaf area index


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