Validation of remotely sensed surface temperature over an oak woodland landscape - The problem of viewing and illumination geometries

Ermida S. L., Trigo I. F., DaCamara C. C., Göttsche F. M., Olesen F. S., Hulley G.
Remote Sens. Env., 148, 16-27, doi:

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Satellite retrieved values of Land Surface Temperature (LST) over structured heterogeneous pixels generally depend on viewing and illumination angles as well as on the characteristics of the land cover. Here we present a method to quantify such dependencies on land surface characteristics, sun illumination and satellite position. The method uses a geometric model to describe the surface elements viewed by an air-borne sensor and relies on parallel-ray geometry to calculate the projections of tree canopies and sunlit and shaded ground: these are considered as basic surface elements responsible for most of the spatial variability of LST. For a woodland landscape we demonstrate that modeling the fractions of these basic surface elements within the sensor field-of-view allows us to quantify the directional effects observed on satellite LST with sufficient accuracy.
Geometric models are an effective tool to upscale in situ measurements for the validation of LST over discontinuous canopies (e.g. forests). Here we present the application of a model to observations of brightness temperature from the LSA-SAF validation site in Évora (Portugal), an area of oak woodland, over the one-year period from October 2011 to September 2012. The resulting composite temperature is compared against LSA SAF LST products from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) onboard Meteosat as well as against MYD11A1/MOD11A1 (collection 5) products from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard AQUA and TERRA. Comparisons with modeled ground LST show that SEVIRI LST has a bias of 0.26 °C and a RMSE of 1.34 °C, whereas MODIS LST (MYD11A1 and MOD11A1, collection 5) has a bias of ? 1.54 °C and a RMSE of 2.37 °C. Both MODIS and SEVIRI LST are closer to in situ values obtained with the geometric model than to those obtained when disregarding the effects of viewing and illumination geometry. These results demonstrate the need to consider the directional character of LST products, especially for validation purposes over heterogeneous land covers. For the new MODIS LST product (MOD21), which is based on the Temperature-Emissivity Separation (TES) algorithm, comparisons with in-situ LST show an improved bias of ? 0.81 °C and a RMSE of 1.48 °C (daytime values only). The TES based product presents lower emissivity values than those used for retrieving MYD11A1/MOD11A1 LST, which may partially explain the improved match with in-situ LST.
Discrepancies between LST retrievals obtained from different sensors, especially those on different orbits can also be partly explained by their viewing/illumination geometries. In this study the geometric model is used to correct LST deviations between simultaneous MODIS and SEVIRI LST estimations related to those effects. When the model is used to correct the variable MODIS viewing geometry there is a reduction in standard deviation of about 0.5 °C.