DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2012.9.03

Tethys no. 9 pp.: 25 - 34


Land Surface Temperature (LST) is an extremely important parameter that controls the exchange of longwave radiation and sensible heat flux between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. Therefore knowledge of LST is essential for a range of issues and themes in Earth sciences central to hydrology, climatology and global environmental change. In particular, it plays a main role in estimating hydrological variables, such as evapotranspiration. However, because of the extreme heterogeneity of most natural land surfaces, LST is a difficult parameter to estimate and to validate.


  • - APAT, 2005: The project IMAGE and CORINE Land Cover 2000 in Italy, Final report, april 2005.
  • - Becker, F. and Li, Z. L., 1990: Temperature independent spectral indices in thermal infrared bands, Remote Sens Environ, 32, 17–33, doi:10.1016/0034-4257(90)90095-4.
  • - Carlson, T. N. and Ripley, D. A., 1997: On the relation between NDVI, fractional vegetation cover, and leaf area index, Remote Sens Environ, 62, 241–252, doi:10.1016/S0034-4257(97)00104-1.
  • - Chavez, P. S., 1996: Image-based atmospheric correction-revisited and improved, Photogramm Eng Remote Sens, 62, 1025–1036.
  • - Coll, C., Caselles, V., and Galve, J. M., 2005: Ground measurements for the validation of land surface temperatures derived from AATSR and MODIS data, Remote Sens Environ, 97, 288–300, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2005.05.007.
  • - Cooper, D. I. and Asrar, G., 1989: Evaluating atmospheric correction models for retrieving surface temperature from AVHRR over a tallgrass prairie, Remote Sens Environ, 27, 93–102, doi:10.1016/0034-4257(89)90040-0.
  • - Cristóbal, J., Jiménez-Muñoz, J. C., Sobrino, J. A., Ninyerola, M., and Pons, X., 2009: Improvements in land surface temperature retrieval from the Landsat series thermal band using water vapor and air temperature, J Geophys Res, 114, D08 103, doi:10.1029/2008JD010616.
  • - Dousset, B. and Gourmelon, F., 2003: Satellite multi-sensor data analysis of urban surface temperatures and landcover, ISPRS-J Photogramm Remote Sens, 58, 43–54, doi:10.1016/S0924-2716(03)00016-9.
  • - Gillespie, A. R., Rokugawa, S., Hook, S., Matsunaga, T., and Kahle, A. B., 1998: A temperature and emissivity separation algorithm for Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) images, IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sensing, 36, 1113–1126, doi:10.1109/36.700995.
  • - Iqbal, M., 1983: An introduction to solar radiation, Academic Press, New York.
  • - Jiménez-Muñoz, J. C. and Sobrino, J. A., 2003: A generalized single channel method for retrieving land surface temperature from remote sensing data, J Geophys Res, 108, doi:10.1029/2003JD003480.
  • - Jiménez-Muñoz, J. C., Cristóbal, J., Sobrino, J. A., Sòria, G., Ninyerola, M., and Pons, X., 2009: Revision of the Single-Channel Algorithm for Land Surface Temperature Retrieval From Landsat Thermal-Infrared Data, IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sensing, 47, 339–349, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2008.2007125.
  • - Mallick, J., Kant, Y., and Bharath, B. D., 2008: Estimation of land surface temperature over Delhi using Landsat-7 ETM+, J Ind Geophys Union, 12, 131–140.
  • - Norman, J. M., Chen, J. L., and Goel, N. S., 1990: Thermal emissivity and infrared temperature dependence of plant canopy architecture and view angle, Proc. 10th Ann. Inter. Geoscience Remote Sensing Symp., IEEE, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854, vol. III, pp. 1747-1750.
  • - Prata, A. J., 2002: Land surface temperature measurement from space: Global surface temperature simulations for the AATSR, Technical report, cSIRO 15 pp.
  • - Qin, Z., Karnieli, A., and Berliner, P., 2001: A mono-window algorithm for retrieving land surface temperature from Landsat TM data and its application to the Israel-Egypt border region, Int J Remote Sens, 22, 3719–3746, doi:10.1080/01431160010006971.
  • - Running, S. W., Justice, C., and Salomonson, V., 1994: Terrestrial remote sensing science and algorithms planned for EOS/MODIS, Int J Remote Sens, 15, 2620–3587, doi:10.1080/01431169408954346.
  • - Sobrino, J. A., 1989: Desarrollo de un modelo teórico para implementar la medida de la temperatura realizada mediante teledetección. Aplicación a un campo de naranjos, PhD dissertation, University of Valencia, Valencia, 170 pp.
  • - Sobrino, J. A. and Raissouni, N., 2000: Toward remote sensing methods for land cover dynamic monitoring. Application to Morocco, Int J Remote Sens, 21, 353–366, doi:10.1080/014311600210876.
  • - Sobrino, J. A., Caselles, V., and Becker, F., 1990: Significance of the remotely sensed thermal infrared measurements obtained over a citrus orchard, ISPRS-J Photogramm Remote Sens, 44, 343–354, doi:10.1016/0924-2716(90)90077-O.
  • - Sobrino, J. A., Jiménez-Muñoz, J. C., and Leonardo, P., 2004: Land surface temperature retrieval from LANDSAT TM 5, Remote Sens Environ, 90, 434–440, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2004.02.003.
  • - Sobrino, J. A., Jiménez-Muñoz, J. C., Sòria, G., Romaguera, M., Guanter, L., Moreno, J., Plaza, A., and Martínez, P., 2008: Land Surface Emissivity Retrieval From Different VNIR and TIR Sensors, IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sensing, 46, 316–327, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2007.904834.
  • - Sun, Q., Tan, J., and Xu, Y., 2010: An ERDAS image processing method for retrieving LST and describing urban heat evolution: a case study in the Pearl River Delta Region in South China, Environ Earth Sci, 59, 1047–1055, doi:10.1007/s12665-009-0096-3.
  • - Valor, E. and Caselles, V., 1996: Mapping land surface emissivity from NDVI: application to European, African and South American areas, Remote Sens Environ, 57, 167–184, doi:10.1016/0034-4257(96)00039-9.
  • - Van de Griend, A. A. and Owe, M., 1993: On the relationship between thermal emissivity and the normalized difference vegetation index for natural surfaces, Int J Remote Sens, 14, 1119–1131, doi:10.1080/01431169308904400.
  • - Wan, Z. and Snyder, W., 1996: MODIS land-surface temperature algorithm theoretical basis document, LST ATBD, version 3.2.
  • - Weng, Q., Lu, D., and Schubring, J., 2004: Estimation of land surface temperature-vegetation abundance relationship for urban heat island studies, Remote Sens Environ, 89, 467–483, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2003.11.005.
  • - Wukelic, G. E., Gibbons, D. E., Martucci, L. M., and Foote, H. P., 1989: Radiometric calibration of Landsat Thematic Mapper Thermal Band, Remote Sens Environ, 28, 339–347, doi:10.1016/0034-4257(89)90125-9.
  • - Yang, J. S. and Wang, Y. Q., 2002: Estimation of land surface temperature using landsat-7 ETM+ thermal infrared and weather station data, Proceeding of Huangshan International Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing Workshop, Huangshan, Anhui, PR China, july 14-17, 2002, http://www.ltrs.uri.edu/research/LSTpage/paper4.doc.
  • - Zhang, J., Wang, Y., and Lib, Y., 2006: A C++ program for retrieving land surface temperature from the data of Landsat TM/ETM+ band6, Comput Geosci, 32, 1796–1805, doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2006.05.001.
  • - Zhang, J., Wang, Y., and Wang, Z., 2007: Change analysis of land surface temperature based on robust statistics in the estuarine area of Pearl River (China) from 1990 to 2000 by Landsat TM/ETM+ data, Int J Remote Sens, 28, 2383–2390, doi:10.1080/01431160701236811.

DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2010.7.06

Tethys no. 7 pp.: 67 - 74


The knowledge of land surface temperature (LST) is of great importance, because it helps us to understand processes such as energy exchange between surface and atmosphere, water requirements in agricultural soils, control and prevention of fires and the evolution of climate change. Also, we need to try to know its value with enough accuracy. Two important factors are taken into account: the surrounding environmental conditions on the surface and its own emissivity.


  • - Becker, F. and Li, Z.-L., 1995: Surfaces temperature and emissivity at various scales: Definition, measurement and related problems, Int J Remote Sens, 12, 225–253.
  • - Berk, A., Anderson, G. P., Acharya, P. K., Chetwynd, J. H., Bernstein, L. S., and Shettle, E. P., 1999: MODTRAN 4 user’s manual, MA: Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Material Command, Hascom AFB, 95.
  • - Buettner, K. J. and Kern, C. D., 1965: The determination of infrared emissivities of terrestrial surfaces, J Geophys Res, 70, 1324–1337, doi: 10.1029/JZ070i006p01329.
  • - Caselles, V., Coll, C., and Sobrino, J. A., 1991: La Teledetección en el seguimiento de los fenómenos naturales, Servicio de publicaciones de la Universitat de Valencia, València, 95-140, 149-182.
  • - Coll, C. and Caselles, V., 1997: A split-window algorithm for land surface temperature from adnvanced very high resolution radiometer data: Validation and algorithm comparison, J Geophys Res, 102, 1697–16, 713, doi: 10.1029/97JD00929.
  • - Coll, C., Valor, E., Caselles, V., and Niclòs, R., 2003: Adjusted Normalized Emissivity Method for surface temperature and emissivity retrieval from optical and thermal infrared remote sensing data, J Geophys Res, 108, 12.1–12.14, doi: 10.1029/2003JD003688.
  • - Dana, R. W., 1969: Measurements of 8-14 microm emissivity of igneous rocks and mineral surfaces, NASA science Report NSG- 632, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland (USA).
  • - François, C. and Ottlé, C., 1996: Atmospheric corrections in the thermal infrared: Global and water vapor dependent splitwindow algorithms- Applications to ATSR and AVHRR data, IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sensing, 34, 457–469.
  • - French, A. N., Norman, J. M., and Anderson, M. C., 2003: A simple and fast atmospheric correction for spaceborne remote sensing of surface temperature, IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sensing, 87, 326–333, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2003.08.001.
  • - Galve, J. M., Coll, C., Caselles, V., and Valor, E., 2008: An atmospheric radiosounding database for generating Land Surface Temperature algorithm, Remote Sens Environ, 46, 1547–1557, doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2008.916084.
  • - Gillespie, A. R., 1986: Lithologic mapping of silicate rocks using TIMS, in the TIMS data user’s workshop, Publ. Pasadena Calif, 29-44.
  • - Gillespie, A. R., Rokugawa, S., Matsunaga, T., Cothern, J. S., Hook, S., and Kahle, B., 1998: A Temperature and Emissivity Separation algorithm for Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection radiometer ASTER images, IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sensing, 36, 1113–1126, doi: 10.1109/36.700995.
  • - McMillin, L. M., 1975: Estimation of sea surface temperatures from two infrared window measurements with different absorption, J Geophys Res, 36, 5113–5117, doi: 10.1029/JC080i036p05113.
  • - Niclòs, R., Caselles, V., Coll, C., and Valor, E., 2007: Determination of sea surface temperature at large observation angles using an angular and emissivity-dependent split-window equation, Remote Sens Environ, 111, 107–121, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2007.03.014.
  • - Prata, A. J., 1993: Land surface temperatures derived from the advanced very high resolution radiometer and the along track scanning radiometer. Theory, J Geophys Res, 98 (D9), 689–16, 702, doi: 10.1029/93JD01206.
  • - Prata, A. J., 2002: Land surface temperatures measurements from space: AATSR algorithm theoretical basis document, CSIRO Atmos. Res., Aspendale, Australia, tech. Rep. 34.
  • - Rouse, J.W., Haas, R. H., Schell, J. A., Deering, D.W., and Harlan, L. C., 1974: Monitoring the vernal advancement of retrogradation of natural vegetation, NASA/GSFC, Type III, Final Report, Greenbelt, MD, p 371.
  • - Rubio, E., Caselles, V., and Badenas, C., 1997: Emissivity measurements of several soils and vegetation types in the 8-14 μm wave band: analysis of two field methods, Remote Sens Environ, 59, 490–521, doi: 10.1016/S0034-4257(96)00123-X.
  • - Schmugge, T. J., Becker, F., and Li, Z.-L., 1991: Spectral emissivity variations observed in airbone surface temperature measurements, Remote Sens Environ, 35, 95–104, doi: 10.1016/0034-4257(91)90003-O.
  • - Valor, E. and Caselles, V., 1996: Mapping land surface emissivity from NDVI: application to european, african and south American areas, Remote Sens Environ, 57, 167–184, doi: 10.1016/0034-4257(96)00039-9.
  • - van de Griend, A. A. and Owe, M., 1993: On the relationship between thermal emissivity and the normalized difference vegetation index for natural surfaces, Int J Remote Sens, 14, 1119–1131, doi: 10.1080/01431169308904400.
  • - Wan, Z., 1999: MODIS land surface temperature. Algorithm theorethical basis document, NAS5-31370.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Indexed in Scopus, Thomson-Reuters Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scientific Commons, Latindex, Google Scholar, DOAJ, ICYT (CSIC)

Partially funded through grants CGL2007-29820-E/CLI, CGL2008-02804-E/, CGL2009-07417-E and CGL2011-14046-E of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation

Syndicate content