U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Remote Sensing of Environment 123 (2012) 470–482; doi:10.1016/j.rse.2012.04.015


To retrieve microwave land emissivity, infrared surface skin temperatures have been used as surface physical temperature since there is no global information on physical vegetation/soil temperature profiles. However, passive microwave emissions originate fromdeeper layerswith respect to the skin temperature. So, this inconsistency in sensitivity depths between skin temperatures and microwave temperaturesmay introduce a discrepancy in the determined emissivity. Previous studies showed that this inconsistency can lead to significant differences between day and night retrievals of land emissivity which can exceed 10%. This study proposes an approach to address this inconsistency and improve the retrieval of land emissivity using microwave observations from AdvancedMicrowave Scanning Radiometer–Earth Observing System(AMSR-E). The diurnal cycle of the microwave brightness temperature (Tb) was constructed over the globe for different frequencies/polarizations using a constellation of satellites. Principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted to evaluate the spatial variation of the Tb diurnal cycle. The diurnal amplitudes of microwave temperatures observed in desert areas were not consistent with the larger amplitudes of the diurnal cycle of skin temperature. Densely vegetated areas with more moisture have shown smaller amplitudes. A lookup table of effective temperature (Teff) anomalies is constructed based on the Tb diurnal cycle to resolve the inconsistencies between infrared and Tb diurnal variation. This lookup table of Teff anomalies is a weighted average over the layers contributing to the microwave signal, for each channel and month. The integration of this Teff in the retrieval of land emissivity reduced the differences between day and night retrieved emissivities to less than 0.01 for AMSR-E observations.