go to TEMIS Home Page

Surface albedo climatologies

European Space Agency


page last modified:
21 May 2024

Knowledge of the surface albedo is important for the retrieval of atmospheric trace gases, aerosols, and clouds from satellite data. We have created spectral surface albedo databases (more precisely: Lambertian-equivalent reflectivity, LER, databases) at several wavelengths from UV-VIS-NIR and SWIR spectrometers GOME-1 on ERS-2, SCIAMACHY on Envisat, OMI on EOS-Aura, GOME-2 on the MetOp satellites, and TROPOMI on the Sentinel-5P satellite.

These surface LER databases are gridded climatological data sets, per month of the year, holding for the period indicated per data set. The advantages of using the surface LER from the same satellite instrument as for which the retrievals are being performed are that remaining calibration errors are accounted for, and that surface BRDF effects are included to first order.

The GOME-2 and TROPOMI surface LER databases additionally contain the so-called directionally dependent Lambertian-equivalent reflectivity (DLER) of the surface. In the GOME-2 and TROPOMI surface DLER, the viewing-angle dependence of the reflectivity of the surface, due to the BRDF of the surface, is taken into account, which improves the product considerably, especially for the longer wavelengths.

The following surface albedo climatologies are available:

The above surface albedo databases are discussed extensively and compared to each another in the following papers:

L.G. Tilstra, O.N.E. Tuinder, P. Wang, and P. Stammes, Surface reflectivity climatologies from UV to NIR determined from Earth observations by GOME-2 and SCIAMACHY, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 122, 4084-4111, doi:10.1002/2016JD025940, 2017. (PDF)

L.G. Tilstra, M. de Graaf, V.J.H. Trees, P. Litvinov, O. Dubovik, and P. Stammes, A directional surface reflectance climatology determined from TROPOMI observations, Atmos. Meas. Tech. 17, 2235-2256, doi:10.5194/amt-17-2235-2024, 2024. (PDF)