Although meteorological stations provide accurate air temperature observations, their spatial coverage is limited and thus often insufficient for epidemiological studies. Satellite data expand spatial coverage, enhancing our ability to estimate near surface air temperature (Ta). However, the derivation of Ta from surface temperature (Ts) measured by satellites is far from being straightforward. In this study, we present a novel approach that incorporates land use regression, meteorological variables and spatial smoothing to first calibrate between Ts and Ta on a daily basis and then predict Ta for days when satellite Ts data were not available. We applied mixed regression models with daily random slopes to calibrate Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Ts data with monitored Ta measurements for 2003. Then, we used a generalized additive mixed model with spatial smoothing to estimate Ta in days with missing Ts. Out-of-sample tenfold cross-validation was used to quantify the accuracy of our predictions. Our model performance was excellent for both days with available Ts and days without Ts observations (mean out-of-sample R(2)=0.946 and R(2)=0.941 respectively). Furthermore, based on the high quality predictions we investigated the spatial patterns of Ta within the study domain as they relate to urban vs. non-urban land uses.
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