Near-surface thermal stratification during summer at Summit, Greenland, and its relation to MODIS-derived surface temperatures

Alden C. Adolph, Mary R. Albert, Dorothy K. Hall
2017 The Cryosphere Discussions  
As rapid warming of the Arctic occurs, it is imperative that climate indicators such as temperature be monitored over large areas to understand and predict the effects of climate changes. Temperatures are traditionally tracked using in situ 2 m air temperatures, but in remote locations where few ground-based measurements exist, such as on the Greenland Ice Sheet, temperatures over large areas are assessed using remote sensing techniques. Because of the presence of surface-based
more » ... surface-based temperature inversions in ice-covered areas, differences between 2&amp;thinsp;m air temperature and the temperature of the actual snow surface (referred to as <q>skin</q> temperature) can be significant and are particularly relevant when considering validation and application of remote sensing temperature data. We present results from a field campaign extending from 8 June through 18 July 2015, near Summit Station in Greenland to study surface temperature using the following measurements: skin temperature measured by an infrared (IR) sensor, thermochrons, and thermocouples; 2&amp;thinsp;m air temperature measured by a NOAA meteorological station; and a MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) surface temperature product. Our data indicate that 2&amp;thinsp;m air temperature is often significantly higher than snow skin temperature measured in-situ, and this finding may account for apparent biases in previous surface temperature studies of MODIS products that used 2&amp;thinsp;m air temperature for validation. This inversion is present during summer months when incoming solar radiation and wind speed are both low. As compared to our in-situ IR skin temperature measurements, after additional cloud masking, the MOD/MYD11 Collection 6 surface-temperature standard product has an RMSE of 1.0&amp;thinsp;°C, spanning a range of temperatures from &amp;minus;35&amp;thinsp;°C to &amp;minus;5&amp;thinsp;°C. For our study area and time series, MODIS surface temperature products agree with skin surface temperatures better than previous studies indicated, especially at temperatures below &amp;minus;20&amp;thinsp;°C where other studies found a significant cold bias. The apparent <q>cold bias</q> present in others' comparison of 2&amp;thinsp;m air temperature and MODIS surface temperature is perhaps a result of the near-surface temperature inversion that our data demonstrate. Further investigation of how in-situ IR skin temperatures compare to MODIS surface temperature at lower temperatures (below &amp;minus;35&amp;thinsp;°C) is warranted to determine if this cold bias does indeed exist.
doi:10.5194/tc-2017-195 fatcat:6kbbo4khcjdmxfcsgwqumgloei