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Land surface temperature is a measurement of how hot the land is to the touch. It differs from air temperature (the temperature given in weather reports) because land heats and cools more quickly than air. This image depicts average monthly land surface temperature in degrees Celsius as measured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The warmest temperatures are pale yellow, while the coldest temperatures are dark blue. Moderate temperatures are depicted in shades of pink and purple. Regions where land surface temperature measurements were not possible are gray.
Land surface temperature is how hot the “surface” of the Earth would feel to the touch in a particular location. From a satellite’s point of view, the “surface” is whatever it sees when it looks through the atmosphere to the ground. It could be snow and ice, the grass on a lawn, or the roof of a building. These maps compare daytime land surface temperatures in a particular month to the average temperatures for that month from 2000-2008. Places that were warmer than average are red, places that were near normal are white, and places that were cooler than average are blue. The observations were collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
View, download, or analyze more of these data from NASA Earth Observations (NEO):
Land Surface Temperature
Land Surface Temperature Anomaly