Diurnal temperature range over the United States: A satellite view

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Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN: 0094-8276, Vol: 33, Issue: 5

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Donglian Sun; Menas Kafatos; Rachel T. Pinker
Wiley-Blackwell; American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Earth and Planetary Sciences; diurnal temperature range; climate change; Environmental Monitoring; Meteorology; Other Environmental Sciences
article description
Diurnal temperature range (DTR) is an important climate change index. Information on this parameter comes primarily from sparse and unevenly distributed observations of shelter air temperature. In this study, five years of GOES-8 based estimates of land surface temperature (LST) over the United States are used to evaluate DTR at high spatial resolution. The spatial and temporal patterns that emerged show a high degree of consistency with independent satellite estimates of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Specifically, the arid regions in the western and central U.S. have larger DTRs than the eastern United States or the northwest coast. When stratified by four major surface types, the western U. S. DTRs over these surface types are larger than over the eastern part. It is also observed that urban areas have the lowest DTRs especially over the polluted eastern U. S. The similarity of the DTR spatial and temporal patterns and variations of the independent satellite based vegetation index are encouraging and suggest that satellite based estimates of DTR carry a strong signal on surface conditions which are responsive to climate change. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.