Assessment of the consistency among global microwave land surface emissivity products
Abstract. The goal of this work is to intercompare four global land surface emissivity products over various land-cover conditions to assess their consistency. The intercompared land emissivity products were generated over a 5-year period (2003–2007) using observations from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer – Earth Observing System (AMSR-E), the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I), the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI), and WindSat. First, all products were reprocessed in the same projection and spatial resolution as they were generated from sensors with various configurations. Then, the mean value and standard deviations of monthly emissivity values were calculated for each product to assess the spatial distribution of the consistencies/inconsistencies among the products across the globe. The emissivity products were also compared to soil moisture estimates and a satellite-based vegetation index to assess their sensitivities to changes in land surface conditions.
Results show the existence of systematic differences among the products. Also, it was noticed that emissivity values in each product have similar frequency dependency over different land-cover types. Monthly means of emissivity values from AMSR-E in the vertical and horizontal polarizations seem to be systematically lower than the rest of the products across various land-cover conditions which may be attributed to the 01:30/13:30 LT overpass time of the sensor and possibly a residual skin temperature effect in the product. The standard deviation of the analyzed products was lowest (less than 0.01) in rain forest regions for all products and highest at northern latitudes, above 0.04 for AMSR-E and SSM/I and around 0.03 for WindSat. Despite differences in absolute emissivity estimates, all products were similarly sensitive to changes in soil moisture and vegetation. The correlation between the emissivity polarization differences and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values showed similar spatial distribution across the products, with values close to the unit except over densely vegetated and desert areas.