A general framework of kernel-driven modeling in the thermal infrared domain



B. Cao, J.-L. Roujean, J.-P. Gastellu-Etchegorry, Q. Liu, Y. Du, J.-P. Lagouarde, H. Huang, H. Li, Z. Bian, T. Hu, B. Qin, X. Ran, and Q. Xiao


Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 252, art. no. 112157, 2021


Radiometric measurements in the Thermal Infrared (TIR) domain exhibit an angular variation over most surface types, known as the Thermal Radiation Directionality (TRD) phenomenon. A primary objective of the ongoing development of TRD physical models is to perform a correction of the angular effects to obtain comparable land surface temperature products. In practice, it is advised to handle only the models having a limited number of input parameters for the purpose of operational applications. The use of semi-empirical kernel-driven models (KDMs) appears to be a good tradeoff between physical accuracy and computational efficiency as it was already demonstrated through a broad usage in the optical domain. It remains that the existing state-of-the-art 3-parameter TIR KDMs (RossThick-LiSparseR, LiStrahlerFriedl-LiDenseR, Vinnikov, and RoujeanLagouarde) underestimate the hotspot phenomenon, especially for continuous canopies marked by a narrow peak. In this study, a new general framework of TIR kernel-driven modeling is proposed to overcome such issue. It is a linear combination of three kernels (including a base shape kernel, a hotspot kernel with adjustable width and an isotropic kernel) with the ability to simulate the bowl, dome and bell shapes in the solar principal plane. Four specific 4-parameter models (Vinnikov-RoujeanLagouarde, LiStrahlerFriedl-RoujeanLagouarde, Vinnikov-Chen, and LiStrahlerFriedl-Chen, named “base shape kernel - hotspot kernel”) within the new framework were studied to assess their abilities to mimic the patterns of the directional brightness temperature for both continuous and discrete vegetation canopies. These four 4-parameter KDMs and four 3-parameter KDMs were comprehensively evaluated with 306 groups of simulated multi-angle datasets generated by a modernized analytical 4-stream radiative transfer model based on the Scattering by Arbitrarily Inclined Leaves (4SAIL), and a Discrete Anisotropic Radiative Transfer (DART) model considering different solar zenith angles (SZA), canopy architectures and component temperatures, and 2 groups of airborne measured multi-angle datasets over continuous maize and discrete pine forest. Results show that the four 4-parameter KDMs behave better than the four existing 3-parameter KDMs over continuous canopies (e.g. R2 increases from 0.661~0.970 to 0.940~0.997 and RMSE decreases from 0.17~0.71 to 0.07~0.16 when SZA = 30°) and discrete canopies (e.g. R2 increases from 0.791~0.989 to 0.976~0.996 and RMSE decreases from 0.10~0.84 to 0.08~0.21 when SZA = 30°). The new general framework with four parameters (three kernel coefficients and an adjustable hotspot width) improves the fitting ability significantly, compared to the four existing three-parameter KDMs, given the addition of one more degree of freedom. Results show that the coefficients of the base shape kernel, hotspot kernel and isotropic kernel are related to the temperature difference between leaf and background, temperature difference between sunlit component and shaded component, and the nadir brightness temperature, respectively. However, the estimated hotspot width depends on vegetation structure. The new kernel-driven modeling framework has the potential to be a tool for angular correction of multi-angle satellite observations and angular optimization of future multi-angle TIR sensors.



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