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Land surface temperature (LST) is an important element of the climate system. Remote sensing methods for estimating LST have been developed in the past and several of them have been implemented at large-scales. Geostationary satellites are of particular interest because they depict the diurnal cycle. Soil moisture has a strong effect on the magnitude of surface temperature via its influence on emissivity; yet, information on soil moisture at large scales is meager. It is of interest to estimate what effect soil moisture has on the retrieval accuracy of surface temperature by methods of remote sensing. In this study, newly developed algorithms to estimate land surface temperature (LST) from geostationary satellites will be applied to GOES-8 observations during the Southern Great Plains 1997 Hydrology Experiment (SGP-97) when surface observations of both soil moisture and surface temperature were made. The ground observations were used to first demonstrate the influence of soil moisture on the diurnal cycle of the surface temperature, its amplitude and the lag in LST maxima. Subsequently, it was established that errors in LST as derived from GOES-8 measurements have a negative correlation with soil moisture, namely, increasing with the decrease of soil moisture.
Date of Publication: April 2004