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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(2), 162; doi:10.3390/rs8020162

Comparing and Combining Remotely Sensed Land Surface Temperature Products for Improved Hydrological Applications

1
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2032, Australia
2
Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: George P. Petropoulos, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 26 November 2015 / Revised: 11 February 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 20 February 2016
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Abstract

Land surface temperature (LST) is an important variable that provides a valuable connection between the energy and water budget and is strongly linked to land surface hydrology. Space-borne remote sensing provides a consistent means for regularly observing LST using thermal infrared (TIR) and passive microwave observations each with unique strengths and weaknesses. The spatial resolution of TIR based LST observations is around 1 km, a major advantage when compared to passive microwave observations (around 10 km). However, a major advantage of passive microwaves is their cloud penetrating capability making them all-weather sensors whereas TIR observations are routinely masked under the presence of clouds and aerosols. In this study, a relatively simple combination approach that benefits from the cloud penetrating capacity of passive microwave sensors was proposed. In the first step, TIR and passive microwave LST products were compared over Australia for both anomalies and raw timeseries. A very high agreement was shown over the vast majority of the country with R2 typically ranging from 0.50 to 0.75 for the anomalies and from 0.80 to 1.00 for the raw timeseries. Then, the scalability of the passive microwave based LST product was examined and a pixel based merging approach through linear scaling was proposed. The individual and merged LST products were further compared against independent LST from the re-analysis model outputs. This comparison revealed that the TIR based LST product agrees best with the re-analysis data (R2 0.26 for anomalies and R2 0.76 for raw data), followed by the passive microwave LST product (R2 0.16 for anomalies and R2 0.66 for raw data) and the combined LST product (R2 0.18 for anomalies and R2 0.62 for raw data). It should be noted that the drop in performance comes with an increased revisit frequency of approximately 20% compared to the revised frequency of the TIR alone. Additionally, this comparison against re-analysis data was subdivided over Australia’s major climate zones and revealed that the relative agreement between the individual and combined LST products against the re-analysis data is consistent over these climate zones. These results are also consistent for both the anomalies and the raw time series. Finally, two examples were provided that demonstrate the proposed merging approach including an example for the Hunter Valley floods along Australia’s central coast that experienced significant flooding in April 2015. View Full-Text
Keywords: land surface temperature; data merging; MODIS; AMSR2 land surface temperature; data merging; MODIS; AMSR2
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Parinussa, R.M.; Lakshmi, V.; Johnson, F.; Sharma, A. Comparing and Combining Remotely Sensed Land Surface Temperature Products for Improved Hydrological Applications. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 162.

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