Subsurface emission effects in AMSR-E measurements: Implications for land surface microwave emissivity retrieval

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

Galantowicz, J. F., J.-L. Moncet, P. Liang, A. E. Lipton, G. Uymin, C. Prigent, and C. Grassotti (2011), Subsurface emission effects in AMSR-E measurements: Implications for land surface microwave emissivity retrieval, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D17105, doi:10.1029/2010JD015431.

An analysis of land surface microwave emission time series shows that the characteristic diurnal signatures associated with subsurface emission in sandy deserts carry over to arid and semiarid regions worldwide. Prior work found that diurnal variation of Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) brightness temperatures in deserts was small relative to International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project land surface temperature (LST) variation and that the difference varied with surface type and was largest in sand sea regions. Here we find more widespread subsurface emission effects in Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E) measurements. The AMSR-E orbit has equator crossing times near 01:30 and 13:30 local time, resulting in sampling when near-surface temperature gradients are likely to be large and amplifying the influence of emission depth on effective emitting temperature relative to other factors. AMSR-E measurements are also temporally coincident with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) LST measurements, eliminating time lag as a source of LST uncertainty and reducing LST errors due to undetected clouds. This paper presents monthly global emissivity and emission depth index retrievals for 2003 at 11, 19, 37, and 89 GHz from AMSR-E, MODIS, and SSM/I time series data. Retrieval model fit error, stability, self-consistency, and land surface modeling results provide evidence for the validity of the subsurface emission hypothesis and the retrieval approach. An analysis of emission depth index, emissivity, precipitation, and vegetation index seasonal trends in northern and southern Africa suggests that changes in the emission depth index may be tied to changes in land surface moisture and vegetation conditions.