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17 March 2003 Turbulence-induced spatial variation of surface temperature in high-resolution thermal IR satellite imagery
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Atmospheric eddies cause transient spatial and temporal variations of surface temperature and can limit the precision of satellite surface temperature retrievals. If a thermal IR sensor has sufficiently high spatial resolution, the effects of these transient changes of temperature will be seen as variations of the thermal spatial pattern. Nine thermal IR images of a uniform emissivity area on Mauna Loa caldera are carefully compared to document spatial differences between them. These images were obtained from the Dept. of Energy Multispectral Thermal Imager satellite at about 20m GSD. Spatial patterns with a 1C - 6C magnitude are present but not repeated in any of the images. In order to better understand the characteristics and impact of turbulence induced temperature fluctuations for quantitative remote thermal IR sensing, an effort to model the spatial variation of surface temperature as driven by turbulent energy fluxes has been initiated. Stochastic models initially examined showed a close coupling between surface temperature and turbulent fluxes but were not successful. Traditional energy balance models used in this type of simulation are insufficient to model skin temperature because of the importance of the skin layer and its small depth compared to soil depths used in the models. A new treatment based on surface renewal theory is introduced.
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Lee K. Balick, Christopher A. Jeffery, and Bradley G. Henderson "Turbulence-induced spatial variation of surface temperature in high-resolution thermal IR satellite imagery", Proc. SPIE 4879, Remote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology IV, (17 March 2003);

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