Articles | Volume 17, issue 7
Research article
16 Jul 2013
Research article |  | 16 Jul 2013

Using a thermal-based two source energy balance model with time-differencing to estimate surface energy fluxes with day–night MODIS observations

R. Guzinski, M. C. Anderson, W. P. Kustas, H. Nieto, and I. Sandholt

Abstract. The Dual Temperature Difference (DTD) model, introduced by Norman et al. (2000), uses a two source energy balance modelling scheme driven by remotely sensed observations of diurnal changes in land surface temperature (LST) to estimate surface energy fluxes. By using a time-differential temperature measurement as input, the approach reduces model sensitivity to errors in absolute temperature retrieval. The original formulation of the DTD required an early morning LST observation (approximately 1 h after sunrise) when surface fluxes are minimal, limiting application to data provided by geostationary satellites at sub-hourly temporal resolution. The DTD model has been applied primarily during the active growth phase of agricultural crops and rangeland vegetation grasses, and has not been rigorously evaluated during senescence or in forested ecosystems. In this paper we present modifications to the DTD model that enable applications using thermal observations from polar orbiting satellites, such as Terra and Aqua, with day and night overpass times over the area of interest. This allows the application of the DTD model in high latitude regions where large viewing angles preclude the use of geostationary satellites, and also exploits the higher spatial resolution provided by polar orbiting satellites. A method for estimating nocturnal surface fluxes and a scheme for estimating the fraction of green vegetation are developed and evaluated. Modification for green vegetation fraction leads to significantly improved estimation of the heat fluxes from the vegetation canopy during senescence and in forests. When the modified DTD model is run with LST measurements acquired with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the Terra and Aqua satellites, generally satisfactory agreement with field measurements is obtained for a number of ecosystems in Denmark and the United States. Finally, regional maps of energy fluxes are produced for the Danish Hydrological ObsErvatory (HOBE) in western Denmark, indicating realistic patterns based on land use.