Breunig, FM; Galvao, LS; Formaggio, AR; Epiphanio, JCN (2011). Directional effects on NDVI and LAI retrievals from MODIS: A case study in Brazil with soybean. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION, 13(1), 34-42.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) is largely used to estimate Leaf Area Index (LAI) using radiative transfer modeling (the "main" algorithm). When this algorithm fails fora pixel, which frequently occurs over Brazilian soybean areas, an empirical model (the "backup" algorithm) based on the relationship between the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and LAI is utilized. The objective of this study is to evaluate directional effects on NDVI and subsequent LAI estimates using global (biome 3) and local empirical models, as a function of the soybean development in two growing seasons (2004-2005 and 2005-2006). The local model was derived from the pixels that had LAI values retrieved from the main algorithm. In order to keep the reproductive stage for a given cultivar as a constant factor while varying the viewing geometry, pairs of MODIS images acquired in close dates from opposite directions (backscattering and forward scattering) were selected. Linear regression relationships between the NDVI values calculated from these two directions were evaluated for different view angles (0-25 degrees; 25-45 degrees; 45-60 degrees) and development stages (<45; 45-90; >90 days after planting). Impacts on LAI retrievals were analyzed. Results showed higher reflectance values in backscattering direction due to the predominance of sunlit soybean canopy components towards the sensor and higher NDVI values in forward scattering direction due to stronger shadow effects in the red waveband. NDVI differences between the two directions were statistically significant for view angles larger than 25 degrees. The main algorithm for LAI estimation failed in the two growing seasons with gradual crop development. As a result, up to 94% of the pixels had LAI values calculated from the backup algorithm at the peak of canopy closure. Most of the pixels selected to compose the 8-day MODIS LAI product came from the forward scattering view because it displayed larger LAI values than the backscattering. Directional effects on the subsequent LAI retrievals were stronger at the peak of the soybean development (NDVI values between 0.70 and 0.85). When the global empirical model was used, LAI differences up to 3.2 for consecutive days and opposite viewing directions were observed. Such differences were reduced to values up to 1.5 with the local model. Because of the predominance of LAI retrievals from the MODIS backup algorithm during the Brazilian soybean development, care is necessary if one considers using these data in agronomic growing/yield models. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.