Liu, YB, Noumi, Y, Yamaguchi, Y (2009). Discrepancy Between ASTER- and MODIS- Derived Land Surface Temperatures: Terrain Effects. SENSORS, 9(2), 1054-1066.
The MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) are onboard the same satellite platform NASA TERRA. Both MODIS and ASTER offer routine retrieval of land surface temperatures (LSTs), and the ASTER- and MODIS-retrieved LST products have been used worldwide. Because a large fraction of the earth surface consists of mountainous areas, variations in elevation, terrain slope and aspect angles can cause biases in the retrieved LSTs. However, terrain-induced effects are generally neglected in most satellite retrievals, which may generate discrepancy between ASTER and MODIS LSTs. In this paper, we reported the terrain effects on the LST discrepancy with a case examination over a relief area at the Loess Plateau of China. Results showed that the terrain-induced effects were not major, but nevertheless important for the total LST discrepancy. A large local slope did not necessarily lead to a large LST discrepancy. The angle of emitted radiance was more important than the angle of local slope in generating the LST discrepancy. Specifically, the conventional terrain correction may be unsuitable for densely vegetated areas. The distribution of ASTER- to-MODIS emissivity suggested that the terrain correction was included in the generalized split window (GSW) based approach used to rectify MODIS LSTs. Further study should include the classification-induced uncertainty in emissivity for reliable use of satellite-retrieved LSTs over relief areas.