Table of Contents
Dataset Papers in Science
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 564279, 11 pages
Dataset Paper

Mapping Biophysical Parameters for Land Surface Modeling over the Continental US Using MODIS and Landsat

1Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
2Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
3Center for Research and Applications in Remote Sensing (CARTEL), Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada J1K 2R1
4Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
5Terrestrial Information Systems Laboratory, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Received 8 October 2014; Revised 12 January 2015; Accepted 12 January 2015

Academic Editor: Jai Vaze

Copyright © 2015 Lahouari Bounoua et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In terms of the space cities occupy, urbanization appears as a minor land transformation. However, it permanently modifies land’s ecological functions, altering its carbon, energy, and water fluxes. It is therefore necessary to develop a land cover characterization at fine spatial and temporal scales to capture urbanization’s effects on surface fluxes. We develop a series of biophysical vegetation parameters such as the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation, leaf area index, vegetation greenness fraction, and roughness length over the continental US using MODIS and Landsat products for 2001. A 13-class land cover map was developed at a climate modeling grid (CMG) merging the 500 m MODIS land cover and the 30 m impervious surface area from the National Land Cover Database. The landscape subgrid heterogeneity was preserved using fractions of each class from the 500 m and 30 m into the CMG. Biophysical parameters were computed using the 8-day composite Normalized Difference Vegetation Index produced by the North American Carbon Program. In addition to urban impact assessments, this dataset is useful for the computation of surface fluxes in land, vegetation, and urban models and is expected to be widely used in different land cover and land use change applications.