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Satellite-borne passive microwave radiometers provide brightness temperature (TB) measurements in a large spectral range which includes a number of frequency channels and generally two polarizations: horizontal and vertical. These TBs are widely used to retrieve several atmospheric and surface variables and parameters such as precipitation, soil moisture, water vapor, air temperature profile, and land surface emissivity. Since TBs are measured at different microwave frequencies with various instruments and at various incidence angles, spatial resolutions, and radiometric characteristics, a mere direct integration of them from different microwave sensors would not necessarily provide consistency. However, when appropriately harmonized, they can provide a complete dataset to estimate the diurnal cycle. This study first constructs the diurnal cycle of land TBs using the non-sun-synchronous Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) observations by utilizing a cubic spline fit. The acquisition times of GMI vary from day to day and, therefore, the shape (amplitude and phase) of the diurnal cycle for each month is obtained by merging several days of measurements. This diurnal pattern is used as a point of reference when intercalibrated TBs from other passive microwave sensors with daily fixed acquisition times (e.g., Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder, and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2) are used to modify and tune the monthly diurnal cycle to daily diurnal cycle at a global scale. Since the GMI does not cover polar regions, the proposed method estimates a consistent diurnal cycle of land TBs at global scale. Results show that the shape and peak of the constructed TB diurnal cycle is approximately similar to the diurnal cycle of land surface temperature. The diurnal brightness temperature range for different land cover types has also been explored using the derived diurnal cycle of TBs. In general, a large diurnal TB range of more than 15 K has been observed for the grassland, shrubland, and tundra land cover types, whereas it is less than 5K over forests. Furthermore, seasonal variations in the diurnal TB range for different land cover types show a more consistent result over the Southern Hemisphere than over the Northern Hemisphere. The calibrated TB diurnal cycle may then be used to consistently estimate the diurnal cycle of land surface emissivity. Moreover, since changes in land surface emissivity are related to moisture change and freeze–thaw (FT) transitions in high-latitude regions, the results of this study enhance temporal detection of FT state, particularly during the transition times when multiple FT changes may occur within a day.


Sharifnezhad, Z., Norouzi, H., Prakash, S., Blake, R., & Khanbilvardi, R. (2021). Diurnal cycle of passive microwave brightness temperatures over land at a global scale. Remote Sensing, 13(4), 817,

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license



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