EGU24-11905, updated on 09 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Multi-angular airborne observations for simulating thermal directionality at the satellite scale

Mary Langsdale1,2, Martin Wooster1,2, Dirk Schuettemeyer3, Simon Hook4, Callum Middleton1,2, Mark Grosvenor1,2, Bjorn Eng4, Roberto Colombo5, Franco Miglietta6, Lorenzo Genesio6, Jose Sobrino7, Gerardo Rivera4, Daniel Beeden8, and William Jay9
Mary Langsdale et al.
  • 1Kings College London, Geography, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2National Centre for Earth Observation
  • 3European Space Agency
  • 4NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • 5Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca
  • 6CNR-IBE Istituto per le BioEconomia
  • 7Universitat de València
  • 8British Antarctic Survey
  • 9NEODAAS Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Viewing and illumination geometry are known to have significant impacts on remotely sensed retrieval of land surface temperature (LST), particularly for heterogeneous regions with mixed components. Disregarding directional effects can have significant impacts on both the stability and accuracy of satellite datasets, for example when harmonising datasets from different sensors with different viewing geometries. However, it is difficult to accurately quantify these impacts, in part due to the challenges of retrieving high-quality data for the different components in a scene at a variety of different viewing and illumination geometries over a time period where the real surface temperature and sun-sensor geometries are invariant. With LST an Essential Climate Variable and the development of high resolution future thermal infrared missions (e.g. LSTM, SBG, TRISHNA), it is essential that further work is done to redress this.

With this in mind, a joint NASA-ESA airborne campaign focused on directionality was conducted in Italy in the summer of 2023, led by the National Centre for Earth Observation at King’s College London. This campaign involved concurrent acquisition across longwave infrared (LWIR) wavelengths at both nadir and off-nadir viewing angles through the deployment of two aircraft flying simultaneously, each equipped with state-of-the-art LWIR hyperspectral instrumentation. Data was collected to enable simulation of angular effects at the satellite scale over both agricultural and urban surfaces, with the aim of understanding and potentially developing adjustments for wide view angle satellite-based LST retrievals and remotely sensed evapotranspiration estimates. In-situ observations were collected additionally to enable accuracy assessment of the airborne datasets.

This presentation first details the airborne campaign, including the unique and novel data collection strategies and design modifications to enable evaluation of directional effects for thermal satellites. Preliminary results from the campaign are then presented as well as plans for further analysis related to future satellite thermal missions. 

How to cite: Langsdale, M., Wooster, M., Schuettemeyer, D., Hook, S., Middleton, C., Grosvenor, M., Eng, B., Colombo, R., Miglietta, F., Genesio, L., Sobrino, J., Rivera, G., Beeden, D., and Jay, W.: Multi-angular airborne observations for simulating thermal directionality at the satellite scale, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11905,, 2024.