Quantifying the Uncertainty of Land Surface Temperature Retrievals from SEVIRI/Meteosat

Freitas S.C., Trigo I.F., Bioucas-Dias J.M., Gottsche F.-M.
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, 48, 1, 523-534, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2009.2027697

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Land surface temperature (LST) is estimated from thermal infrared data provided by the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) onboard Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), using a generalized split-window (GSW) algorithm. The uncertainty of the LST retrievals is highly dependent on the input accuracy and retrieval conditions, particularly the sensor view angle and the atmospheric water vapor content. This paper presents a quantification of the uncertainty of LST estimations, taking into account error statistics of the GSW under a globally representative collection of atmospheric profiles, and a careful characterization of the uncertainty of input data, particularly the surface emissivity and forecasts of the total water vapor content. Such analysis is the basis for LST uncertainty estimation, also distributed to users, in the form of error bars, along with the LST retrievals. Moreover, the spatial coverage of SEVIRI LST is essentially determined by the LST expected uncertainty, instead of being restricted to view zenith angles below a given threshold (e.g., 60?). Within the MSG disk, the atmosphere is often dry for clear-sky conditions where angles are large (e.g., Northern and Eastern Europe and Saudi Arabia). By considering several factors that contribute to LST inaccuracies, it is possible to increase the spatial coverage to regions such as those mentioned earlier. Retrieved values are also compared with in situ observations collected in Namibia, covering a seasonal cycle. The two data sets are in good agreement with root-mean-square differences ranging between 1 ?C and 2 ?C, which is well below the average error estimated for the satellite retrievals.