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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(3), 233; doi:10.3390/rs9030233

Impacts of Land Cover and Seasonal Variation on Maximum Air Temperature Estimation Using MODIS Imagery

1,2,3,* , 3
,
1
and
1
1
Geomatics College, Shandong University of Sciences and Technology, Qingdao 266590, Shandong, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101,China
3
Laboratory for Remote Sensing and Environmental Change (LRSEC), Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Parth Sarathi Roy and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 1 March 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3692 KB, uploaded 8 March 2017]   |  

Abstract

Daily maximum surface air temperature (Tamax) is a crucial factor for understanding complex land surface processes under rapid climate change. Remote detection of Tamax has widely relied on the empirical relationship between air temperature and land surface temperature (LST), a product derived from remote sensing. However, little is known about how such a relationship is affected by the high heterogeneity in landscapes and dynamics in seasonality. This study aims to advance our understanding of the roles of land cover and seasonal variation in the estimation of Tamax using the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) LST product. We developed statistical models to link Tamax and LST in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in China for five major land-cover types (i.e., forest, shrub, water, impervious surface, cropland, and grassland) and two seasons (i.e., growing season and non-growing season). Results show that the performance of modeling the Tamax-LST relationship was highly dependent on land cover and seasonal variation. Estimating Tamax over grasslands and water bodies achieved superior performance; while uncertainties were high over forested lands that contained extensive heterogeneity in species types, plant structure, and topography. We further found that all the land-cover specific models developed for the plant non-growing season outperformed the corresponding models developed for the growing season. Discrepancies in model performance mainly occurred in the vegetated areas (forest, cropland, and shrub), suggesting an important role of plant phenology in defining the statistical relationship between Tamax and LST. For impervious surfaces, the challenge of capturing the high spatial heterogeneity in urban settings using the low-resolution MODIS data made Tamax estimation a difficult task, which was especially true in the growing season. View Full-Text
Keywords: maximum surface air temperature; land surface temperature; statistical modeling; MODIS maximum surface air temperature; land surface temperature; statistical modeling; MODIS
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Cai, Y.; Chen, G.; Wang, Y.; Yang, L. Impacts of Land Cover and Seasonal Variation on Maximum Air Temperature Estimation Using MODIS Imagery. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 233.

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