Satellite microwave remote sensing of boreal and arctic soil temperatures from AMSR-E

Lucas A. Jones, John S. Kimball, Kyle C. McDonald, Steven Tsz K. Chan, Eni G. Njoku, Walter C. Oechel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Methods are developed and evaluated to retrieve surface soil temperature information for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on Earth Observing System for seven boreal forest and Arctic tundra biophysical monitoring sites across Alaska and Northern Canada. A multiple-band iterative radiative transfer process-based method producing dynamic vegetation and snow cover correction quantities and an empirical multiple regression method using several frequencies are employed. The seasonal pattern of microwave emission and relative accuracy of the soil temperature retrievals are influenced strongly by landscape properties, including the presence of open water, vegetation type and seasonal phenology, snow cover, and freeze-thaw transitions. The retrieval of soil temperature is similar for the two methods with an overall root-mean-square error of 3.1-3.9 K during summer thawed conditions, with a larger error occurring in winter during periods of dynamic snow cover and freeze-thaw state. These results indicate that at high latitudes, the influence of the atmosphere may be less important than that of surface conditions in determining the relative accuracy of the estimated soil temperature. Impacts of surface conditions on surface emissivity, observed brightness temperature, and estimated soil temperature are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2004-2018
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E)
  • Arctic tundra
  • Boreal forest
  • Microwave radiometry
  • Satellite remote sensing
  • Soil temperature


Dive into the research topics of 'Satellite microwave remote sensing of boreal and arctic soil temperatures from AMSR-E'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this