Next Article in Journal
Maritime Semantic Labeling of Optical Remote Sensing Images with Multi-Scale Fully Convolutional Network
Previous Article in Journal
Ku-Band Sea Surface Radar Backscatter at Low Incidence Angles under Extreme Wind Conditions
Article Menu
Issue 5 (May) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(5), 481;

Identifying the Lambertian Property of Ground Surfaces in the Thermal Infrared Region via Field Experiments

1,* , 1,2
Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Richard Müller and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 27 February 2017 / Revised: 4 May 2017 / Accepted: 7 May 2017 / Published: 14 May 2017
Full-Text   |   PDF [6719 KB, uploaded 15 May 2017]   |  


Lambertian surfaces represent an important assumption when constructing thermal radiance transfer equations for remote sensing observations of ground surface temperatures. We identify the properties of ground surfaces in thermal infrared regions as Lambertian surfaces via field experiments. Because Lambertian surfaces present homogeneous thermal emissions levels in hemispheric directions for a specific ground surface under specific kinetic temperatures and emissions, we conducted a series of field experiments to illustrate the properties of such ground surfaces. Four typical ground surfaces were selected for the experiments to observe thermal emissions: bare soil, grass, water, and concrete. Radiance thermometers were used to observe ground emissions from seven directions: 30°, 45°, 60°, 90°, 120°, 135°, and 150°. Solar zenith angles were considered for the observation of ground emissions. Experiments were conducted in five different regions of China (Beijing, Nanjing, Xilinguole, Yongzhou, and Jiangmen) during both daytime and nighttime. To determine whether different observation angles have significantly different effects on radiance, statistical analyses (ANOVA and Friedman test) were conducted. Post hoc multiple comparison tests and pairwise multiple comparisons were also conducted to examine the various pairings of observation angles and to measure the radiance differences. Roughly half of the radiance groups of all observed sites were tested via an ANOVA, and the remaining groups with unequal variances were subjected to the Friedman test. The results indicate that statistically significant differences in the radiance levels occurred among the seven angles for almost all of the sites (39 of the 40 groups). The results of our experiments indicate that the selected ground surfaces, especially the grass and the bare soil, may not behave with Lambertian properties in the thermal infrared region. This is probably attributed to the roughness of the selected surface, because we found that roughness is an important factor affecting the observed magnitude of thermal emission from different directions of the ground surface under study. Therefore, whether or not a terrestrial surface can be assumed to be a Lambertian surface should be based on their geometric structure. When the surface is relatively smooth, we can say that it is close to the Lambertian property in thermal emission. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lambertian property; ground surface; thermal infrared region; ground emissions; FOV and hotspot effects Lambertian property; ground surface; thermal infrared region; ground emissions; FOV and hotspot effects

Graphical abstract

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).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Tu, L.; Qin, Z.; Yang, L.; Wang, F.; Geng, J.; Zhao, S. Identifying the Lambertian Property of Ground Surfaces in the Thermal Infrared Region via Field Experiments. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 481.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Remote Sens. EISSN 2072-4292 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top