The identification of catchment functional behavior with regard to water and energy balance is an important step during the parameterization of land surface models. <br><br> An approach based on time series of thermal infrared (TIR) data from remote sensing is developed and investigated to identify land surface functioning as is represented in the temporal dynamics of land surface temperature (LST). <br><br> For the meso-scale Attert catchment in midwestern Luxembourg, a time series of 28 TIR images from ASTER was extracted and analyzed. <br><br> The application mathematical-statistical pattern analysis techniques demonstrated a strong degree of pattern persistency in the data. Dominant LST patterns over a period of 12 years were extracted by a principal component analysis. Component values of the 2 most dominant components could be related for each land surface pixel to vegetation/land use data, and geology, respectively. A classification of the landscape by introducing "binary word", representing distinct differences in LST dynamics, allowed the separation into functional units under radiation driven conditions. <br><br> It is further outlined that both information, component values from PCA as well as the functional units from "binary words" classification, will highly improve the conceptualization and parameterization of land surface models and the planning of observational networks within a catchment.
Müller, B., Bernhardt, M., & Schulz, K. (2014). Identification of catchment functional units by time series of thermal remote sensing images. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18(12), 5345–5359. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-18-5345-2014