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1st Workshop on Remote Sensing and Modeling of Surface Properties

The workshop, an activity of the International TOVS Working Group, sponsored by Observatoire de Paris and the NOAA/NESDIS/Office of Research and Applications was held in Observatoire de Paris, France from June 20-22, 2006. The meeting was well attended by 62 international specialists and scientists, including representatives of the major NWP centers (e.g., NCEP, ECMWF, Met Office, Météo-France, Meteorological Service of Canada, Norwegian Met Institute). The utilization rate of satellite surface-sensitive data over land, sea ice and snow conditions is still very limited and participants in the First International Workshop of Remote Sensing and Modeling of Surface Properties confirmed that accurate surface emissivity estimates are necessary to assimilate surface-sensitive satellite measurements into NWP models. The NWP centers gave an overview of the status of the assimilation of infrared and microwave surface-sensitive radiances over both ocean and land and presented their plans for the future. Strategies include the use of surface emissivity models as well as the direct estimation of the emissivities from window channel observations. Recent advances in emissivity and reflectivity models were presented. Major problem areas still exist, including the need for input parameters not directly related to the physical variables in the NWP models and difficult to estimate on a global basis. The development of a community surface emissivity modeling framework that can be used by all NWP centers was encouraged. It was recognized that the land surface modeling community needs to be brought more closely into this study. Global and regional data sets of satellite-derived land surface emissivities are now available both in the IR and in the microwave and several were presented. These can provide first guess estimates and statistics for assimilation of close-to-the-surface channels. It was emphasized that efforts should be made to compare these emissivity estimates with model results and in-situ measurements. The key role of the land surface temperature in the surface radiative contribution (in the IR and in the microwave) prompted a call for a global comparison of land surface temperature from satellite and models to better understand the differences and identify those regions of greatest uncertainty. Lastly, in addition to the development of a common emissivity modeling framework, the workshop recommended the archival and documentation of all existing land surface emissivity data bases from IR and microwave wavelengths at a centralized website for public access for an efficient intercomparison and evaluation of the modeled, satellite-derived and in-situ emissivity estimates.

(Summary provided by Ben Ruston, NRL)