Global satellite retrievals of the near-surface atmospheric Vapor Pressure Deficit from AMSR-E and AMSR2

Jinyang Du, John S. Kimball, Rolf H. Reichle, Lucas A. Jones, Jennifer D. Watts, Youngwook Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Near-surface atmospheric Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD) is a key environmental variable affecting vegetation water stress, evapotranspiration, and atmospheric moisture demand. Although VPD is readily derived from in situ standard weather station measurements, more spatially continuous global observations for regional monitoring of VPD are lacking. Here, we document a new method to estimate daily (both a.m. and p.m.) global land surface VPD at a 25-km resolution using a satellite passive microwave remotely sensed Land Parameter Data Record (LPDR) derived from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) sensors. The AMSR-derived VPD record shows strong correspondence (correlation coefficient ≥ 0.80, p-value < 0.001) and overall good performance (0.48 kPa ≤ Root Mean Square Error ≤ 0.69 kPa) against independent VPD observations from the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2) data. The estimated AMSR VPD retrieval uncertainties vary with land cover type, satellite observation time, and underlying LPDR data quality. These results provide new satellite capabilities for global mapping and monitoring of land surface VPD dynamics from ongoing AMSR2 operations. Overall good accuracy and similar observations from both AMSR2 and AMSR-E allow for the development of climate data records documenting recent (from 2002) VPD trends and potential impacts on vegetation, land surface evaporation, and energy budgets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1175
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • AMSR-E/2
  • Humidity
  • MERRA-2
  • Passive microwave remote sensing
  • Vapor pressure deficit


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