To examine soil surface temperature evolution, a soil heat and water transfer model (HYDRUS-1d) is coupled
to an atmospheric surface layer scheme. Idealized simulations are carried out for different meteorological
conditions (wind speed and temperature). From the simulation results, the coupling between soil properties,
surface temperature, and sensible heat flux is examined and implications for landmine thermal signatures are
Accurate estimation of sensible and latent heat fluxes as well as soil moisture from remotely sensed satellite images poses a great challenge. Yet, it is critical to face this challenge since the estimation of spatial and temporal distributions of these parameters over large areas is impossible using only ground measurements. A major difficulty for the calibration and validation of operational remote sensing methods such as SEBAL, METRIC, and ALEXI is the ground measurement of sensible heat fluxes at a scale similar to the spatial resolution of the remote sensing image. While the spatial length scale of remote sensing images covers a range from 30 m (LandSat) to 1000 m (MODIS) direct methods to measure sensible heat fluxes such as eddy covariance (EC) only provide point measurements at a scale that may be considerably smaller than the estimate obtained from a remote sensing method. The Large Aperture scintillometer (LAS) flux footprint area is larger (up to 5000 m long) and its spatial extent better constraint than that of EC systems. Therefore, scintillometers offer the unique possibility of measuring the vertical flux of sensible heat averaged over areas comparable with several pixels of a satellite image (up to about 40 Landsat thermal pixels or about 5 MODIS thermal pixels). The objective of this paper is to present our experiences with an existing network of seven scintillometers in New Mexico and a planned network of three scintillometers in the humid tropics of Panama and Colombia.
Modeling studies and experimental work have demonstrated that the dynamic behavior of soil physical properties has a significant effect on most sensors for the detection of buried land mines. An outdoor test site has been constructed allowing full control over soil water content and continuous monitoring of important soil properties and environmental conditions. Time domain reflectometry sensors and thermistors measure soil water1 content and temperature, respectively, at different depths above and below the land mines as well as in homogeneous soil away from the land mines. During the two-year operation of the test-site, the soils have evolved to reflect real field soil conditions. This paper compares visual observations as well as ground-penetrating radar and thermal infrared measurements at this site taken immediately after construction in early 2004 with measurements from early 2006. The visual observations reveal that the 2006 soil surfaces exhibit a much higher spatial variability due to the development of mini-reliefs, "loose" and "connected" soil crusts, cracks in clay soils, and vegetation. Evidence is presented that the increased variability of soil surface characteristics leads to a higher natural spatial variability of soil surface temperatures and, thus, to a lower probability to detect landmines using thermal imagery. No evidence was found that the soil surface changes affect the GPR signatures of landmines under the soil conditions encountered in this study. The New Mexico Tech outdoor Landmine Detection Sensor Test Facility is easily accessible and anyone interested is welcome to use it for sensor testing.