Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 52, Issue 1–2, pp 55–68 | Cite as

An approach to the estimation of surface net radiation in mountain areas using remote sensing and digital terrain data

  • C. R. Duguay


An approach is proposed to estimate the net radiation load at the surface in mountain areas. The components of the radiation balance are derived using a radiative transfer model combined with remotely sensed and digital terrain data. Integrated shortwave (0.28–6.00 µm) and longwave irradiances (3.00–100.00 µm) are computed using a modified version of the Practical Improved Flux Method (PIFM) of Zdunkowski et al. (1982) which makes use of digital topographic data in order to account for slope, aspect, and shading effects. Surface albedo and thermal exitance estimates are obtained using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and digital terrain data combined with the LOWTRAN 7 atmospheric model (Kneizys et al., 1988). LOWTRAN 7 is utilized together with a set of terrain modeling programs to compute direct and diffuse sky irradiance for selected TM bands, and to remove atmospheric effects within the visible, near-infrared, mid-infrared, and thermal infrared bands of Landsat TM. Model testing in the Colorado alpine show a generally good correspondence between estimated values and field measurements obtained over comparable tundra surfaces during several field campaigns. The method is finally used to produce 1) maps of the components of the radiation balance at the time of Landsat TM overflight and 2) maps of daily totals of shortwave irradiance and net shortwave radiation on a typical summer day in the Colorado Rocky Mountains (i.e. including cloud cover effects). The results indicate that the proposed approach is particularly suitable for obtaining estimates of net radiation at the surface from the toposcale to the regional scale.


Landsat Thematic Mapper Radiation Balance Landsat Thematic Mapper Thermal Infrared Band 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. R. Duguay
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Earth Observation and Information Systems Department Geography and Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience CentreUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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