Quantifying the Congruence between Air and Land Surface Temperatures for Various Climatic and Elevation Zones of Western Himalaya

Document identifier: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-77066
Access full text here:10.3390/rs11242889
Keyword: Natural Sciences, Maskinteknik, Atmospheric science, MODIS, Topography, Air temperature, Land surface temperature, Himalaya, Rymd- och flygteknik, Teknik och teknologier, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering and Technology, Meteorologi och atmosfärforskning, Geovetenskap och miljövetenskap, Naturvetenskap, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Atmosfärsvetenskap
Publication year: 2019
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 13 Climate action
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by OSDG.ai


The surface and near-surface air temperature observations are primary data for glacio-hydro-climatological studies. The in situ air temperature (Ta) observations require intense logistic and financial investments, making it sparse and fragmented particularly in remote and extreme environments. The temperatures in Himalaya are controlled by a complex system driven by topography, seasons, and cryosphere which further makes it difficult to record or predict its spatial heterogeneity. In this regard, finding a way to fill the observational spatiotemporal gaps in data becomes more crucial. Here, we show the comparison of Ta recorded at 11 high altitude stations in Western Himalaya with their respective land surface temperatures (Ts) recorded by Moderate Resolution Imagining Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aqua and Terra satellites in cloud-free conditions. We found remarkable seasonal and spatial trends in the Ta vs. Ts relationship: (i) Ts are strongly correlated with Ta (R2 = 0.77, root mean square difference (RMSD) = 5.9 °C, n = 11,101 at daily scale and R2 = 0.80, RMSD = 5.7 °C, n = 3552 at 8-day scale); (ii) in general, the RMSD is lower for the winter months in comparison to summer months for all the stations, (iii) the RMSD is directly proportional to the elevations; (iv) the RMSD is inversely proportional to the annual precipitation. Our results demonstrate the statistically strong and previously unreported Ta vs. Ts relationship and spatial and seasonal variations in its intensity at daily resolution for the Western Himalaya. We anticipate that our results will provide the scientists in Himalaya or similar data-deficient extreme environments with an option to use freely available remotely observed Ts products in their models to fill-up the spatiotemporal data gaps related to in situ monitoring at daily resolution. Substituting Ta by Ts as input in various geophysical models can even improve the model accuracy as using spatially continuous satellite derived Ts in place of discrete in situ Ta extrapolated to different elevations using a constant lapse rate can provide more realistic estimates. 


Shaktiman Singh

Luleå tekniska universitet; Rymdteknik
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Anshuman Bhardwaj

Luleå tekniska universitet; Rymdteknik
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Atar Singh

Department of Environmental Science, Sharda University, Greater Noida, India
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Lydia Sam

Luleå tekniska universitet; Rymdteknik
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Mayank Shekhar

Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow, India
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Javier Martin-Torres

Luleå tekniska universitet; Rymdteknik; Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (CSIC-UGR), Armilla, Granada, Spain
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María-Paz Zorzano Mier

Luleå tekniska universitet; Rymdteknik; Centro de Astrobiología (INTA-CSIC), Madrid, Spain
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