Land surface microwave emissivities derived from AMSR‐E and MODIS measurements with advanced quality control

Author: Jean-Luc Moncet, Pan Liang, John F. Galantowicz, Alan E. Lipton and Gennady Uymin
August 16, 2011
Journal Article
Journal of Geophysical Research

J.-L. Moncet, P. Liang, J. F. Galantowicz, A. E. Lipton, G. Uymin, C. Prigent, and C. Grassotti, 2011: Land surface microwave emissivities derived from AMSR‐E and MODIS measurements with advanced quality control. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D16104, doi:10.1029/2010JD015429.

A microwave emissivity database has been developed with data from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E) and with ancillary land surface temperature (LST) data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the same Aqua spacecraft. The primary intended application of the database is to provide surface emissivity constraints in atmospheric and surface property retrieval or assimilation. An additional application is to serve as a dynamic indicator of land surface properties relevant to climate change monitoring. The precision of the emissivity data is estimated to be significantly better than in prior databases from other sensors due to the precise collocation with high-quality MODIS LST data and due to the quality control features of our data analysis system. The accuracy of the emissivities in deserts and semiarid regions is enhanced by applying, in those regions, a version of the emissivity retrieval algorithm that accounts for the penetration of microwave radiation through dry soil with diurnally varying vertical temperature gradients. These results suggest that this penetration effect is more widespread and more significant to interpretation of passive microwave measurements than had been previously established. Emissivity coverage in areas where persistent cloudiness interferes with the availability of MODIS LST data is achieved using a classification-based method to spread emissivity data from less-cloudy areas that have similar microwave surface properties. Evaluations and analyses of the emissivity products over homogeneous snow-free areas are presented, including application to retrieval of soil temperature profiles. Spatial inhomogeneities are the largest in the vicinity of large water bodies due to the large water/land emissivity contrast and give rise to large apparent temporal variability in the retrieved emissivities when satellite footprint locations vary over time. This issue will be dealt with in the future by including a water fraction correction. Also note that current reliance on the MODIS day-night algorithm as a source of LST limits the coverage of the database in the Polar Regions. We will consider relaxing the current restrictions as part of future development.