Validation of the Climate-SAF surface broadband albedo product: Comparisons with in situ observations over Greenland and the ice-covered Arctic Ocean

© V.Hilaire/Fonds Tara

Tara Arctic

Aku Riihelä (a), ⁎, Vesa Laine (a), Terhikki Manninen (a), Timo Palo (b), Timo Vihma (a)

(a) Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland

(b) Department of Geography, University of Tartu, Vanemuise 46, 51014 Tartu, Estonia


This paper describes a validation study performed by comparing the Climate-SAF Surface Albedo Product (SAL) to ground truth observations over Greenland and the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. We compare Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)-based albedo retrievals to data from the Greenland Climate Network (GCN) weather stations and the floating ice station Tara for polar summer 2007. The AVHRR dataset consists of 2755 overpasses. The overpasses are matched to in situ observations spatially and temporally. The SAL algorithm presented here derives the surface broadband albedo from AVHRR channels 1 and 2 using an atmospheric correction, temporal sampling of an empirical Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF), and a narrow-to-broadband conversion algorithm. The satellite product contains algorithms for snow, sea ice, vegetation, bare soil, and water albedo. At the Summit and DYE-2 stations on the Greenland ice sheet, instantaneous SAL RMSE is 0.073. The heterogeneous surface conditions at satellite pixel scale over the stations near the Greenland west coast increase RMSE to > 0.12. Over Tara, the instantaneous SAL RMSE is 0.069. The BRDF sampling approach reduces RMSE over the ice sheet to 0.053, and to 0.045 over Tara. Taking into account various sources of uncertainty for both satellite retrievals and in situ observations, we conclude that SAL agrees with in situ observations within their limits of accuracy and spatial representativeness.