Montopoli, M; Pierdicca, N; Marzano, FS (2012). Spectral Downscaling of Integrated Water Vapor Fields From Satellite Infrared Observations. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, 50(2), 415-428.
Atmospheric water vapor is a crucial constituent affecting both climate change and hydrological cycle processes, whereas on the other hand, it has a significant impact on the electromagnetic signal propagation. Since the distribution of atmospheric water vapor strongly varies with time, location, and altitude, it is necessary to monitor it at high spatial and temporal resolution. Unfortunately, mapping its spatial distribution is difficult due to the lack of meteorological instrumentation at an adequate spatial and temporal observation scale. For many geophysical applications, there is also the need to reconstruct spatial details of integrated precipitable water vapor from information available only at coarser spatial scales. Spatial downscaling approaches can play a significant role when high-resolution water vapor retrievals from relatively new sensors, like synthetic aperture radars, or from conventional sensors, like the infrared radiometers MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), are used in synergy to enhance the accuracy of integrated water vapor retrievals. In this context, this paper introduces some new methodological aspects to increase the spatial resolution of integrated precipitable water vapor observations using a statistical downscaling spectral approach. To highlight the potential and the usefulness of the proposed downscaling estimation procedure, collocated 250-m MERIS and 1-km MODIS acquisitions are used. Results reveal the ability of spectral downscaling to reproduce quite well the second-order statistical variability of the water vapor field at small spatial scales with a root-mean-square error comparable with conventional interpolation techniques.