Evaluation of MODIS GPP over a complex ecosystem in East Asia: A case study at Gwangneung flux tower in Korea

Changsub Shim, Jiyoun Hong, Jinkyu Hong, Youngwook Kim, Minseok Kang, Bindu Malla Thakuri, Yongwon Kim, Junghwa Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Moderate Resolution Imaging Radiometer (MODIS) gross primary productivity (GPP) has been used widely to study the global carbon cycle associated with terrestrial ecosystems. The retrieval of the current MODIS productivity with a 1 × 1 km 2 resolution has limitations when presenting subgrid scale processes in terrestrial ecosystems, specifically when forests are located in mountainous areas, and shows heterogeneity in vegetation type due to intensive land use. Here, we evaluate MODIS GPP (MOD17) at Gwangneung deciduous forest KoFlux tower (deciduous forest; GDK) for 2006-2010 in Korea, where the forests comprise heterogeneous vegetation cover over complex terrain. The monthly MODIS GPP data overestimated the GDK measurements in a range of +15% to +34% and was fairly well correlated (R = 0.88) with the monthly variability at GDK during the growing season. In addition, the MODIS data partly represented the sharp GPP reduction during the Asian summer monsoon (June-September) when intensive precipitation considerably reduces solar radiation and disturbs the forest ecosystem. To examine the influence of subgrid scale heterogeneity on GPP estimates over the MODIS scale, the individual vegetation type and its area within a corresponding MODIS pixel were identified using a national forest type map (∼71-m spatial resolution), and the annual GPP in the same area as the MODIS pixel was estimated. This resulted in a slight reduction in the positive MODIS bias by ∼10%, with a high degree of uncertainty in the estimation. The MODIS discrepancy for GDK suggests further investigation is necessary to determine the MODIS errors associated with the site-specific aerodynamic and hydrological characteristics that are closely related to the mountainous topography. The accuracy of meteorological variables and the impact of the very cloudy conditions in East Asia also need to be assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2296-2308
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Complex ecosystem
  • Eddy covariance
  • GPP
  • KoFlux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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