Continuity of Global MODIS Terrestrial Primary Productivity Estimates in the VIIRS Era Using Model-Data Fusion

K. Arthur Endsley, Maosheng Zhao, John S. Kimball, Sadashiva Devadiga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The NASA Terra and Aqua satellites have been successfully operating for over two decades, exceeding their original design life. However, the era of NASA's Earth Observing System may be coming to a close as early as 2023. Similarities between the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), aboard Aqua and Terra, and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensors aboard the Suomi NPP, NOAA-20 and NOAA-21 satellites enable potential continuity of long-term earth observational records in the VIIRS era. We conducted a comprehensive calibration and validation of the MODIS MOD17 product, which provided the first global, continuous, weekly estimates of ecosystem gross primary productivity (GPP) and annual estimates of net primary productivity (NPP). Using Bayesian model-data fusion, we combined 18 years of tower fluxes with prior data on plant traits and hundreds of field measurements of NPP to benchmark MOD17 and to develop the first terrestrial productivity estimates from VIIRS. The updated mean global GPP (NPP) flux from the future MOD17 Collection 7 product and new VNP17 product for 2012–2018 is 127 ± 2.8 Pg C year−1 (58 ± 1.1 Pg C year−1), which compares well with independent top-down and bottom-up estimates. MOD17 and VNP17 depict upward productivity trends over recent decades, with 2000–2018 MOD17 GPP (NPP) rising by 0.47 (0.25) Pg C year−2 but slowing to 0.35–0.44 (0.11–0.13) Pg C year−2 over 2012–2021, with a greater reduction in the NPP growth rate. The new VIIRS VNP17 product has the potential to extend these estimates of global, terrestrial primary productivity beyond 2030.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023JG007457
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


This study was supported by a grant from NASA (80NSSC22K0198).

FundersFunder number
National Aeronautics and Space Administration80NSSC22K0198


    • autotrophic respiration
    • carbon use efficiency
    • gross primary production
    • net primary production
    • primary productivity
    • remote sensing


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