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Surface Spectral Emissivity Derived from MODIS Data

A downloadable PDF Format copy of a technical paper by Yan Chen, Sunny Sun-Mack, SAIC, Hampton, VA USA and Patrick Minnis, David F. Young, William L. Smith, Jr., Atmospheric Sciences, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA USA. A paper that was presented at SPIE’s 3rd International Asia-Pacific Environmental Remote Sensing Symposium 2002: entitled Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, Ocean, Environment, and Space, in Hangzhou, China, October 23-27, 2002.

ABSTRACT: “Surface emissivity is essential for many remote sensing applications including the retrieval of the surface skin temperature from satellite-based infrared measurements, determining thresholds for cloud detection and for estimating the emission of longwave radiation from the surface, an important component of the energy budget of the surface-atmosphere interface. In this paper, data from the Terra MODIS (MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) taken at 3.7, 8.5, 10.8, 12.0 ?m are used to simultaneously derive the skin temperature and the surface emissivities at the same wavelengths. The methodology uses separate measurements of the clear-sky temperatures that are determined by the CERES (Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System) scene classification in each channel during  the daytime and at night. The relationships between the various channels at night are used during the day when solar reflectance affects the 3.7-?m data. A set of simultaneous equations is then solved to derive the emissivities. Global results are derived from MODIS. Numerical weather analyses are used to provide soundings for correcting the observed radiances for atmospheric absorption. These results are verified and will be available for remote sensing applications.”

Raytek’s Spectral Emissivity Table for Non-metals

The Raytek North America website includes a table for the emissivity of a large range of non-metallic materials that includes common building materials, ceramics, glasses and natural materials including ice & water in as many as four wavelength regions.

Wavebands covered include 1.0 micrometer (micron), 5.0 microns, 7.9 microns and the 8-14 micron band. No specific data and the limits of the various wavebands and there are many instances where the wavelength region is labelled as “nr” meaning “Not Recommended”.

Water, Seawater, Ice, and Snow Sample Infrared Emissivities

From the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) UCSB Emissivity Library. Includes four sample for Water, three for Seawater, three for Ice and two for snow.

Commentary on the data on the site read, in part:

“Water, ice, and snow generally  have a high emissivity, 0.94 to 0.99, across the thermal infrared region. Snow is unusual in that it has a high reflectance in the solar (visible) region where most of the downwelling energy is during the day, and a very high emissivity in the thermal region.”