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Land surface temperature (LST) plays a key role in the surface energy budget computation and land surface process studies. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors onboard the Aqua and Terra satellites provide comprehensive global LST estimates at a fine spatial resolution. The MODIS products were recently upgraded to Collection 6, and shown to be more accurate than its predecessor Collection 5 products. In this study, LST and its variability have been examined across India from Collection 6 of the Aqua MODIS data at 0.05° spatial resolution for the period of 2003 to 2017. All-India mean LST characteristics show distinctive features as compared to the well-documented mean characteristics of near-surface air temperature. All land cover types except permanent snow & ice, and cold desert areas exhibit bimodal peaks in seasonal variations of daytime LST. The daytime LST over the coldest and high-altitude regions of northern India shows anomalous positive linear relationship with NDVI at a monthly scale. However, monthly domain-mean daytime LST of cropland regions is largely negatively correlated with NDVI as compared to other land cover types. Results reveal that about 17% of the Indian landmass received its hottest LST during 2010 followed by 2016. Linear trend analysis for the 15-year period of mean annual LST shows a decrease in diurnal temperature range over most parts of the country due to rather rapid increase in nighttime LST than daytime LST, similar as changes in near-surface air temperature across the country.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology. The final authenticated version is available online at:

Available for download on Tuesday, November 10, 2020