Mapping of satellite Earth observations using moving window block kriging

J.M. Tadić, X. Qiu, V. Yadav and A.M. Michalak


The ability to make contiguous maps from satellite observations of land surface and atmospheric properties is often useful for furthering our understanding of the processes driving observed spatial and temporal variability. This paper presents a statistical approach for creating such contiguous maps at flexible spatial and temporal resolutions, and for rigorously assessing the uncertainty associated with these maps. The paper uses data on solar induced fluorescence and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations as prototypical examples.

Figure: XCO2 Level 3 maps (a,c) and associated uncertainties (b,d) based on ACOS 3.4 release-3 retrievals (“Estimates”) for August 2-7, 2009 at (a,b) native resolution and (c,d) 1° × 1° resolution, obtained using the proposed mapping approach.


Global gridded maps (a.k.a. Level 3 products) of Earth system properties observed by satellites are central to understanding the spatiotemporal variability of these properties. They also typically serve either as inputs into biogeochemical models or as independent data for evaluating such models. Spatial binning is a common method for generating contiguous maps, but this approach results in a loss of information, especially when the measurement noise is low relative to the degree of spatiotemporal variability. Such "binned" fields typically also lack a quantitative measure of uncertainty. Geostatistical mapping has previously been shown to make higher spatiotemporal resolution maps possible, and also provides a measure uncertainty associated with the gridded products. This study proposes a flexible moving window block kriging method that can be used as a tool for creating high spatiotemporal resolution maps from satellite data. It relies only on the assumption that the observed physical quantity exhibits spatial correlation that can be inferred from the observations. The method has several innovations relative to previously applied methods: (1) it provides flexibility in the spatial resolution of the contiguous maps, (2) it is applicable for physical quantities with varying spatiotemporal coverage (i.e., density of measurements) by utilizing a more general and versatile data sampling approach, and (3) it provides rigorous assessments of the uncertainty associated with the gridded products. The method is demonstrated by creating Level 3 products from observations of column-integrated carbon dioxide (XCO2) from the GOSAT (Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite) satellite, and solar induced fluorescence (SIF) from the GOME-2 (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2) instrument.

Tadić, J.M., X. Qiu, V. Yadav, A.M. Michalak (2015) "Mapping of satellite Earth observations using moving window block kriging", Geoscientific Model Development, 8, 3311-3319, doi:10.5194/gmd-8-3311-2015.