Systematic errors in temperature estimates from MODIS data covering the western Palearctic and their impact on a parasite development model
AbstractThe modelling of habitat suitability for parasites is a growing area of research due to its association with climate change and ensuing shifts in the distribution of infectious diseases. Such models depend on remote sensing data and require accurate, high-resolution temperature measurements. The temperature is critical for accurate estimation of development rates and potential habitat ranges for a given parasite. The MODIS sensors aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites provide high-resolution temperature data for remote sensing applications. This paper describes comparative analysis of MODISderived temperatures relative to ground records of surface temperature in the western Palaearctic. The results show that MODIS overestimated maximum temperature values and underestimated minimum temperatures by up to 5-6 ºC. The combined use of both Aqua and Terra datasets provided the most accurate temperature estimates around latitude 35-44º N, with an overestimation during spring-summer months and an underestimation in autumn-winter. Errors in temperature estimation were associated with specific ecological regions within the target area as well as technical limitations in the temporal and orbital coverage of the satellites (e.g. sensor limitations and satellite transit times). We estimated error propagation of temperature uncertainties in parasite habitat suitability models by comparing outcomes of published models. Error estimates reached 36% of annual respective measurements depending on the model used. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of adequate image processing and points out the limitations of MODIS temperature data as inputs into predictive models concerning parasite lifecycles.
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Copyright (c) 2013 Jorge Alonso-Carné, Alberto García-Martín, Agustin Estrada-Peña
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