Directional effect on radiative surface temperature measurements over a semiarid grassland site

A. Chehbouni*, Y. Nouvellon, Y. H. Kerr, M. S. Moran, C. Watts, L. Prevot, D. C. Goodrich, S. Rambal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


In this study, an experimental design was conceived, as part of the Semi-Arid-Land-Surface-Atmosphere (SALSA) program, to document the effect of view angle variation on surface radiative temperature measurements. The results indicated differences between nadir and off-nadir radiative temperature of up to 5 K. The data also illustrated that, under clear sky and constant vegetation conditions, this difference is well correlated with surface soil moisture. However, the correlation decreased when the same comparison was made under changing vegetation conditions. To investigate the possibility of deriving component surface temperatures (soil and vegetation) using dual-angle observations of directional radiative temperature, two radiative transfer models (RTM) with different degrees of complexity were used. The results showed that despite their differences, the two models performed similarly in predicting the directional radiative temperature at a third angle. In a contrast to other investigations, our study indicated that the impact of ignoring the cavity effect term is not very significant. However, omitting the contribution of the incoming long-wave radiation on measured directional radiance seemed to have a much larger impact. Finally, sensitivity analysis showed that an accuracy of better than 10% on the plant area index (PAI) was required for achieving a precision of 1 K for inverted vegetation temperature. An error of 1 K in measured directional radiative temperature can lead to an error of about 1 K in the soil and vegetation temperatures derived by inverting the RTM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-372
Number of pages13
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by CONACYT (project: 29340T) and IRD. Additional funding was provided by Landsat7 Science Team (NASA-S-1396-F), European Union (WARTERMED project: contract #ICA3-CT-1999-00015), and SMOS project, SALSA-global change program (NASA grant W-18,997), and the French PNTS. Many thanks to F. Santiago, J.-C. Rodriguez and M. Jauri for their valuable help during the field experiment. We are grateful to Drs. Phil Heilman and Scot Miller from USDA-ARS and to Dr. Christophe Francois of CNRS for their helpful comments on the manuscript.


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