Propastin, P, Erasmi, S (2010). A physically based approach to model LAI from MODIS 250 m data in a tropical region. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION, 12(1), 47-59.
A time series of leaf area index (LAI) has been developed based on 16-day normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) at 250 m resolution (MOD250_LAI). The MOD250_LAI product uses a physical radiative transfer model which establishes a relationship between LAI, fraction of vegetation cover (FVC) and given patterns of surface reflectance, view-illumination conditions and optical properties of vegetation. In situ measurements of LAI and FVC made at 166 plots using hemispherical photography served for calibration of model parameters and validation of modelling results. Optical properties of vegetation cover, summarized by the light extinction coefficient, were computed at the local (pixel) level based on empirical models between ground-measured tree crown architecture at 85 sampling plots and spectral values in Landsat ETM+ bands. Influence of view-illumination conditions on optical properties of canopy was simulated by a view angle geometry model incorporating the solar zenith angle and the sensor viewing angle. The results revealed high compatibility of the produced MOD250-LAI data set with ground truth information and the 30 m resolution Landsat ETM+ LAI estimated using the similar algorithm. The produced MOD250_LAI was also compared with the global MODIS 1000-m LAI product (MOD15A2 LAI). Results show good consistency of the spatial distribution and temporal dynamics between the two LAI products. However, the results also showed that the annual LAI amplitude by the MODI 5A2 product is significantly higher than by the MOD250_LAI. This higher amplitude is caused by a considerable underestimation of the tropical rainforest LAI by the MOD15A2 during the seasonal phases of low leaf production. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.