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Generating Global Products of LAI and FPAR from SNPP-VIIRS Data: Theoretical Background and Implementation

Leaf area index (LAI) and fraction of photosynthetically active radiation (FPAR) absorbed by vegetation have been successfully generated from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data since early 2000. As the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument onboard, the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) has inherited the scientific role of MODIS, and the development of a continuous, consistent, and well-characterized VIIRS LAI/FPAR data set is critical to continue the MODIS time series. In this paper, we build the radiative transfer-based VIIRS-specific lookup tables by achieving minimal difference with the MODIS data set and maximal spatial coverage of retrievals from the main algorithm. The theory of spectral invariants provides the configurable physical parameters, i.e., single scattering albedos (SSAs) that are optimized for VIIRS-specific characteristics. The effort finds a set of smaller red-band SSA and larger near-infrared-band SSA for VIIRS compared with the MODIS heritage. The VIIRS LAI/FPAR is evaluated through comparisons with one year of MODIS product in terms of both spatial and temporal patterns. Further validation efforts are still necessary to ensure the product quality. Current results, however, imbue confidence in the VIIRS data set and suggest that the efforts described here meet the goal of achieving the operationally consistent multisensor LAI/FPAR data sets. Moreover, the strategies of parametric adjustment and LAI/FPAR evaluation applied to SNPP-VIIRS can also be employed to the subsequent Joint Polar Satellite System VIIRS or other instruments.