Widlowski, JL, Robustelli, M, Disney, M, Gastellu-Etchegorry, JP, Lavergne, T, Lewis, P, North, PRJ, Pinty, B, Thompson, R, Verstraete, MM (2008). The RAMI On-line Model Checker (ROMC): A web-based benchmarking facility for canopy reflectance models. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 112(3), 1144-1150.
The exploitation of global Earth Observation data hinges increasingly on physically-based radiative transfer (RT) models. These models simulate the interactions of solar radiation within a given medium (e.g., clouds, plant canopies) and are used to generate look-up-tables that are embedded into quantitative retrieval algorithms, such as those delivering the operational surface products for MODIS, MISR and MERIS. An assessment of the quality of canopy RT models thus appears essential if accurate and reliable information is to be derived from them. Until recently such an undertaking was a time consuming and labour intensive process that was made even more challenging by the general lack of absolute reference standards. Several years of benchmarking activities in the frame of the RAdiation transfer Model Intercomparison (RAMI) exercise have now led to the development of the RAMI On-line Model Checker (ROMC). The ROMC is a web-based tool allowing model developers and users to autonomously assess the performance of canopy RT models (http://romcjrc.ec.europa.eo. Access to the ROMC is free and enables users to obtain both statistical and graphical indications as to the performance of their canopy RT model. In addition to providing an overall indication of the skill of a given model to correctly match the reference data, the ROMC allows also for interactive comparison/evaluations of different model versions/submissions of a given user. All ROMC graphs can be downloaded in PostScript format and come with a reference number for easy usage in presentations and publications. It is hoped that the ROMC will prove useful for the RT modeling community as a whole, not only by providing a convenient means to evaluate models outside the triennial phases of RAMI but also to attract participation in future RAMI activities. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.