CANOPY STRUCTURAL EFFECTS ON BIDIRECTIONAL REFLECTANCE SIMULATED BY THE LESS MODEL: A CASE STUDY OF PICEA CRASSIFOLIA FORESTS
Keywords: LESS, radiative transfer model, Bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF), MODIS BRDF, LAI
Abstract. Surface albedo is a dominant factor affecting the earth energy balance. Bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) describes the anisotropic surface reflection of solar radiation. Bidirectional effect is especially noticeable in the forest canopies with three-dimensional canopy structure. Thus, it is challenging to evaluate the canopy structural effects on BRDF using traditional radiative transfer modelling methods, where leaf in canopies is generally assumed to be homogeneous. LESS, a ray-tracing-based three-dimensional (3D) radiative transfer model can effectively simulate bidirectional reflectance factor while fully considering multi-component spectral and structural characteristics of vegetation. In this study, we applied the LESS model to evaluate the impacts of changes in leaf area index (LAI) on canopy reflectance in a Picea crassifolia forest. First, canopy structural parameters obtained from forest inventory were used to construct forest scenes and drive the LESS model. Then, we validated the simulation accuracy of the LESS model against BRDF calculated from MODIS BRDF parameter product using kernel-driven Ross-Li bi-directional reflectance function. Finally, we constructed forest scenes with different LAI to investigate the canopy structural effects on BRDF. We found that the BRDF simulated by the LESS model is in good accordance with the MODIS BRDF data in the red (R2 = 0.97, RMSE = 0.03) and NIR (R2 = 0.94, RMSE = 0.05) bands. The simulated canopy reflectance in the red band displayed ‘dome’ shape and decreased with increasing LAI. In contrast, canopy reflectance in the NIR band displayed ‘bowl’ shape and increased with increasing LAI. Our study highlighted the sensitivity of canopy BRDF to changes in canopy structure and have implications for retrieving LAI from BRDF data.