Land surface albedo is a key parameter of the Earth’s climate system. It has high variability in space, time, and land cover and it is among the most important variables in climate models. Extensive large-scale estimates can help model calibration and improvement to reduce uncertainties in quantifying the influence of surface albedo changes on the planetary radiation balance. Here, we use satellite retrievals of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) surface albedo (MCD43A3), high-resolution land-cover maps, and meteorological records to characterize climatological albedo variations in Norway across latitude, seasons, land-cover type (deciduous forests, coniferous forests, and cropland), and topography. We also investigate the net changes in surface albedo and surface air temperature through site pair analysis to mimic the effects of land-use transitions between forests and cropland and among different tree species. We find that surface albedo increases at increasing latitude in the snow season, and cropland and deciduous forests generally have higher albedo values than coniferous forests, but for few days in spring. Topography has a large influence on MODIS albedo retrievals, with values that can change up to 100% for the same land-cover class (e.g. spruce in winter) under varying slopes and aspect of the terrain. Cropland sites have surface air temperature higher than adjacent forested sites, and deciduous forests are slightly colder than adjacent coniferous forests. By integrating satellite measurements and high-resolution vegetation maps, our results provide a large semi-empirical basis that can assist future studies to better predict changes in a fundamental climate-regulating service such as surface albedo.
F. Cherubini, Sajith Vezhapparambu, Bogren, W., Astrup, R., and Strømman, A. Hammer, “Spatial, Seasonal, and Topographical Patterns of Surface Albedo in Norwegian Forests and Cropland”, International Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 38, pp. 4565-4586, 2017.