Retrieval of land surface temperature and emissivity from sattelite data – physics,...

Retrieval of land surface temperature and emissivity from sattelite data – physics, principle limitations and current methods

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Prasanjit Dash
Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research,
Foreschungszentrum Karlsruhe Karisruhe University
Postfach 3640, D-76021, Karlsruhe, Germany

Remote sensing from satellites is the only method by which Land Surface Temperature (LST) and emissivity can be obtained on a larger scale. LST has many applications, e.g. in Earth’s radiation budget experiments and global climate change detection studies. Over the years, substantial amount of research was made for extracting and decoupling LST and emissivity from surface-leaving radiances measured by the space-borne sensors. This paper provides the theoretical basis, discusses the principle-limitations and gives an overview of the current methods for this study using data from passive sensors operating in the infrared and microwave range, onboard various meteorological satellites, e.g. NOAA-AVHRR, Meteosat, ERS-ATSR, TERRA-MODIS, TERRA-ASTER and MMSP-SSM/I. Atmospheric effects on estimated LST is described and atmospheric-correction using Radiative Transfer Model (RTM) is explained. The methods discussed are the single channel method, the Split Window Techniques (SWTs), and the multi-angle method.