Langer, M, Westermann, S, Boike, J (2010). Spatial and temporal variations of summer surface temperatures of wet polygonal tundra in Siberia - implications for MODIS LST based permafrost monitoring. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 114(9), 2059-2069.
The surface temperature of permafrost soils in remote arctic areas is accessible by satellite land surface temperature (LST) detection However, the spatial resolution of satellite measurements such as the MODIS LST products is limited and does not detect the heterogeneities of the wet polygonal tundra landscape where surface wetness vanes over distances of several meters This paper examines the spatial and temporal variability of summer surface temperatures of a polygonal tundra site in northern Siberia using a ground based high resolution thermal imaging system. Thermal infrared images were taken of a 1000 m(2) polygonal tundra area in 10 min intervals from July to September 2008 Under clear sky conditions, the individual measurements indicate temperature differences of up to 6 K between dry and wet tundra surfaces and which can exceed 12 K when dry tundra and water surfaces are compared These differences disappear when temperature averages are considered for intervals longer than the diurnal cycle, for weekly averages the spatial temperature variability decreases below 1 K The exception is the free water surface of a shallow polygonal pond where weekly averaged temperature differences of 25 K are sustained compared to the tundra surface. The ground based thermal infrared images are upscaled to MODIS sized pixels and compared to available MODIS LST data for individual measurements and weekly averages The comparisons show generally good agreement for the individual measurements under clear sky conditions, which exist during 20% of the studied time period However, several erroneous measurements and large data gaps occur in the MODIS LST data during cloudy conditions, leading to biased weekly temperature averages inferred from the satellite observations Based on these results the following recommendations are given for future permafrost temperature monitoring based on MODIS LST products (i) high resolution surface water masks for the quality assessment in landscapes where lakes and ponds are frequent and (ii) reliable cloud cover detection in conjunction with a gap filling procedure for accurate temporal averages. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved