Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 314-319


Land Surface Temperature

  • Alan GillespieAffiliated withDepartment of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington Email author 


Land surface temperature (LST). Average temperature of an element of the exact surface of the Earth calculated from measured radiance (for a complete definition, see Norman and Becker, 1995).

Blackbody. An ideal material absorbing all incident energy or emitting all thermal energy possible. A cavity with a pinhole aperture approximates a blackbody.

Color temperature. Temperature satisfying Planck’s law for spectral radiances measured at two different wavelengths: for a gray body (this entry), for any emitter, or the blackbody temperature for which visual color is the same as some other source (e.g., in photography).

Emissivityε. The efficiency with which a surface radiates its thermal energy.

Irradiance. The power incident on a unit area, integrated over all directions (Wm−2).

Longwave infrared (LWIR). For most terrestrial surfaces (~340– ~ 240 K) peak thermal emittance occurs at LWIR (~8–14 μm).

Mid-infrared (MIR). Forest fires (~1,000–600 K) have peak thermal emittances ...

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