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Temporal Variations of Land Surface Microwave Emissivities over the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program Southern Great Plains Site

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  • a Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia
  • | b Atmospheric Sciences Research, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
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Abstract

Land surface microwave emissivities are important geophysical parameters for atmospheric, hydrological, and biospheric studies. This study estimates land surface microwave emissivity using an atmospheric microwave radiative transfer model and a combination of the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) satellite observations and data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program southern Great Plains (SGP) site during October of 1995. Emissivities are retrieved for both clear and cloudy conditions. Emissivity standard deviations of ∼0.035 were found at the SGP site. Much of the variability is produced by a distinct diurnal cycle. The emissivity variability at each SSM/I overpass time (0630, 1100, 1730, and 1000 local time) is about half that for all four times combined. Early morning emissivities are ∼0.06 less than those at other times, and the polarization differences at the four times are similar. This behavior is likely the result of dew and surface rewetting effects. Ground observations of dewpoint and temperature difference between air and skin support this theory. The surface emissivities have a significant negative correlation with soil moisture, which can explain about 60%–80% of the emissivity variance when pentad running means are used. Strong correlations among all seven SSM/I channels indicate that the emissivities need to be determined directly for only two or three channels.

Corresponding author address: Bing Lin, MS 420, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681-2199.

bing@front.larc.nasa.gov

Abstract

Land surface microwave emissivities are important geophysical parameters for atmospheric, hydrological, and biospheric studies. This study estimates land surface microwave emissivity using an atmospheric microwave radiative transfer model and a combination of the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) satellite observations and data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program southern Great Plains (SGP) site during October of 1995. Emissivities are retrieved for both clear and cloudy conditions. Emissivity standard deviations of ∼0.035 were found at the SGP site. Much of the variability is produced by a distinct diurnal cycle. The emissivity variability at each SSM/I overpass time (0630, 1100, 1730, and 1000 local time) is about half that for all four times combined. Early morning emissivities are ∼0.06 less than those at other times, and the polarization differences at the four times are similar. This behavior is likely the result of dew and surface rewetting effects. Ground observations of dewpoint and temperature difference between air and skin support this theory. The surface emissivities have a significant negative correlation with soil moisture, which can explain about 60%–80% of the emissivity variance when pentad running means are used. Strong correlations among all seven SSM/I channels indicate that the emissivities need to be determined directly for only two or three channels.

Corresponding author address: Bing Lin, MS 420, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681-2199.

bing@front.larc.nasa.gov

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