Yang, W, Shabanov, NV, Huang, D, Wang, W, Dickinson, RE, Nemani, RR, Knyazikhin, Y, Myneni, RB (2006). Analysis of leaf area index products from combination of MODIS Terra and Aqua data. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 104(3), 297-312.

A prototype product suite, containing the Terra 8-day, Aqua 8-day, Terra-Aqua combined 8- and 4-day products, was generated as part of testing for the next version (Collection 5) of the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) leaf area index (LAI) products. These products were analyzed for consistency between Terra and Aqua retrievals over the following data subsets in North America: single 8-day composite over the whole continent and annual time series over three selected MODIS tiles (1200 X 1200 km). The potential for combining retrievals from the two sensors to derive improved products by reducing the impact of environmental conditions and temporal compositing period was also explored. The results suggest no significant discrepancies between large area (from continent to MODIS tile) averages of the Terra and Aqua 8-day LAI and surface reflectances products. The differences over smaller regions, however, can be large due to the random nature of residual atmospheric effects. High quality retrievals from the radiative transfer based algorithm can be expected in 90-95% of the pixels with mostly herbaceous cover and about 50-75% of the pixels with woody vegetation during the growing season. The quality of retrievals during the growing season is mostly restricted by aerosol contamination of the MODIS data. The Terra-Aqua combined 8-day product helps to minimize this effect and increases the number of high quality retrievals by 10-20% over woody vegetation. The combined 8-day product does not improve the number of high quality retrievals during the winter period because the extent of snow contamination of Terra and Aqua observations is similar. Likewise, cloud contamination in the single-sensor and combined products is also similar. The LAI magnitudes, seasonal profiles and retrieval quality in the combined 4-day product are comparable to those in the single-sensor 8-day products. Thus, the combined 4-day product doubles the temporal resolution of the seasonal cycle, which facilitates phenology monitoring in application studies during vegetation transition periods. Both Terra and Aqua LAI products show anomalous seasonality in boreal needle leaf forests, due to limitations of the radiative transfer algorithm to model seasonal variations of MODIS surface reflectance data with respect to solar zenith angle. Finally, this study suggests that further improvement of the MODIS LAI products is mainly restricted by the accuracy of the MODIS observations. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.