Evaluation of the Relationship between Air and Land Surface Temperature under Clear- and Cloudy-Sky Conditions

Kevin Gallo NOAA/NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Robert Hale Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Dan Tarpley Short and Associates, Inc., Chevy Chase, Maryland

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Yunyue Yu NOAA/NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Abstract

Clear and cloudy daytime comparisons of land surface temperature (LST) and air temperature (Tair) were made for 14 stations included in the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) of stations from observations made from 2003 through 2008. Generally, LST was greater than Tair for both the clear and cloudy conditions; however, the differences between LST and Tair were significantly less for the cloudy-sky conditions. In addition, the relationships between LST and Tair displayed less variability under the cloudy-sky conditions than under clear-sky conditions. Wind speed, time of the observation of Tair and LST, season, the occurrence of precipitation at the time of observation, and normalized difference vegetation index values were all considered in the evaluation of the relationship between Tair and LST. Mean differences between LST and Tair of less than 2°C were observed under cloudy conditions for the stations, as compared with a minimum difference of greater than 2°C (and as great as 7+°C) for the clear-sky conditions. Under cloudy conditions, Tair alone explained over 94%—and as great as 98%—of the variance observed in LST for the stations included in this analysis, as compared with a range of 81%–93% for clear-sky conditions. Because of the relatively homogeneous land surface characteristics encouraged in the immediate vicinity of USCRN stations, and potential regional differences in surface features that might influence the observed relationships, additional analyses of the relationships between LST and Tair for additional regions and land surface conditions are recommended.

Corresponding author address: Kevin Gallo, USGS/EROS Center, 47914 252nd Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001. Email: kevin.p.gallo@noaa.gov

Abstract

Clear and cloudy daytime comparisons of land surface temperature (LST) and air temperature (Tair) were made for 14 stations included in the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) of stations from observations made from 2003 through 2008. Generally, LST was greater than Tair for both the clear and cloudy conditions; however, the differences between LST and Tair were significantly less for the cloudy-sky conditions. In addition, the relationships between LST and Tair displayed less variability under the cloudy-sky conditions than under clear-sky conditions. Wind speed, time of the observation of Tair and LST, season, the occurrence of precipitation at the time of observation, and normalized difference vegetation index values were all considered in the evaluation of the relationship between Tair and LST. Mean differences between LST and Tair of less than 2°C were observed under cloudy conditions for the stations, as compared with a minimum difference of greater than 2°C (and as great as 7+°C) for the clear-sky conditions. Under cloudy conditions, Tair alone explained over 94%—and as great as 98%—of the variance observed in LST for the stations included in this analysis, as compared with a range of 81%–93% for clear-sky conditions. Because of the relatively homogeneous land surface characteristics encouraged in the immediate vicinity of USCRN stations, and potential regional differences in surface features that might influence the observed relationships, additional analyses of the relationships between LST and Tair for additional regions and land surface conditions are recommended.

Corresponding author address: Kevin Gallo, USGS/EROS Center, 47914 252nd Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001. Email: kevin.p.gallo@noaa.gov

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