The evaluation of the first available satellite-based global albedo product at 1-km resolution is essential for its application in climate studies. We evaluate the accuracy of the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) albedo product using available field measurements at Surface Radiation Budget Network (SURFRAD) and Cloud and Radiation Testbed–Southern Great Plains (CART/SGP) stations and examine the consistency between the MODIS surface albedos and the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) top-of-the-atmosphere albedos as well as historical global albedos from advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) and Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) observations. A comparison with the field measurements shows that the MODIS surface albedo generally meets an absolute accuracy requirement of 0.02 for our study sites during April–September 2001, with the root mean square errors less than 0.018. Larger differences appear in the winter season probably due to the increased heterogeneity of surface reflectivity in the presence of snow. To examine the effect of spatial heterogeneity on the validation of the MODIS albedos using fine resolution field measurements, we derive an intermediate albedo product from four Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) images at 30-m spatial resolution as a surrogate for the distributed field measurements. The surface albedo is relatively homogeneous over the study stations in growing seasons, and therefore the validation during April–September is supported. A case study over three SURFRAD stations reveals that the MODIS bidirectional reflectance distribution function model is able to capture the solar zenith angle dependence of surface albedo as shown by the field measurements. We also find that the MODIS surface shortwave albedo is consistent with the contemporary and collocated CERES top-of atmosphere albedos derived directly from broadband observations. The MODIS albedo is also well correlated with historical surface albedos derived from AVHRR and ERBE observations, and a high bias of 0.016 and a low bias of 0.034 compared to those of the latter albedos are reasonable considering the differences in instruments and retrieval algorithms as well as environmental changes.