Retrievals of All-Weather Daily Air Temperature Using MODIS and AMSR-E Data

Keunchang Jang, Kangwon National University
Sinkyu Kang, Kangwon National University
John S. Kimball, University of Montana - Missoula
Suk Young Hong, National Academy of Agricultural Science - Suwon, Korea

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license 3.0.


Satellite optical-infrared remote sensing from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) provides effective air temperature (Ta) retrieval at a spatial resolution of 5 km. However, frequent cloud cover can result in substantial signal loss and remote sensing retrieval error in MODIS Ta. We presented a simple pixel-wise empirical regression method combining synergistic information from MODIS Ta and 37 GHz frequency brightness temperature (Tb) retrievals from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) for estimating surface level Ta under both clear and cloudy sky conditions in the United States for 2006. The instantaneous Ta retrievals showed favorable agreement with in situ air temperature records from 40 AmeriFlux tower sites; mean R2 correspondence was 86.5 and 82.7 percent, while root mean square errors (RMSE) for the Ta retrievals were 4.58 K and 4.99 K for clear and cloudy sky conditions, respectively. Daily mean Ta was estimated using the instantaneous Ta retrievals from day/night overpasses, and showed favorable agreement with local tower measurements (R2 = 0.88; RMSE = 3.48 K). The results of this study indicate that the combination of MODIS and AMSR-E sensor data can produce Ta retrievals with reasonable accuracy and relatively fine spatial resolution (~5 km) for clear and cloudy sky conditions.