Crosson, WL; Al-Hamdan, MZ; Hemmings, SNJ; Wade, GM (2012). A daily merged MODIS Aqua-Terra land surface temperature data set for the conterminous United States. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 119, 315-324.
A major shortcoming of any remotely-sensed land surface temperature (LST) dataset is the lack of observations for cloud-covered areas. A method is presented that uses the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying on the Terra platform to fill in spatial gaps in the Aqua MODIS LST dataset over the conterminous United States (CONUS) and limited adjacent areas. Over this domain, data are available for only about 50% of all times and pixels for each of the two MODIS sensors. Coverage is highest in summer and lowest in winter, with major regional variations. The relative close temporal proximity (similar to 3 h) of the Aqua and Terra overpasses provides an opportunity to combine information from the two data sources, which can reduce the data loss, most of which we assume is cloud-related. We applied the approach to create a 'merged' data set that supplements existing Aqua and Terra daytime and nighttime LST products. We used Terra LST data to fill gaps in Aqua data, resulting in a data set tied to the similar to 1:30 AM/PM overpass times, so that the resulting data closely approximate daily minimum and maximum LST values. In order to use Terra LST observations to supplement Aqua data, an adjustment was applied to account for the different overpass times of the two platforms. Terra's 10:30 AM overpass usually senses a cooler surface than does Aqua with its 1:30 PM overpass. Conversely, for nighttime overpasses, Terra typically measures a warmer surface at 10:30 PM than does Aqua at 1:30 AM. Our approach was to determine, by season, mean Aqua and Terra LST values on the CONUS grid, based on data from a multi-year (2003-2008) period. Adding the mean Aqua-Terra LST differences for the respective season and time of day to a daily gridded Terra LST field removes the mean offset related to overpass time, resulting in LST values that can then be used to fill Aqua LST data gaps. Using independent offsets for each grid cell and season provides a first-order accounting for factors such as land cover, elevation, terrain slope and aspect, latitude, season and snow cover, which control the diurnal cycle of LST. For the six-year period, the merged data set increases data coverage by 24% and 30% for daytime and nighttime overpasses, respectively, relative to the Aqua LST product alone. The CONUS data set is a potentially valuable tool for weather and climate studies in which high spatial and temporal coverage are desired. Crown Copyright (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.