School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, PR China; State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
The effect of irrigation on temperature has attracted much attention because its cooling effect may mask the warming due to other factors, such as greenhouse gas forcing. Although many studies have examined the irrigation cooling effect (ICE) based on near-surface air temperature from meteorological observations or climate model simulations, few studies have directly addressed the effect of irrigation on land surface temperature (LST), which is closely linked to the surface energy balance and near-surface air temperature. In this paper, an ICE detection (ICED) method is proposed to assess the effect of irrigation on LST using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) products across China. The magnitude of the ICE is calculated as the LST difference between irrigated area and adjacent non-irrigated area in the self-adaptive moving window determined by the ICED method. The results show that irrigation cools daytime LST by 1.15 K, and cools nighttime LST by 0.13 K, on average, across irrigated areas in China. The effect of irrigation on LST differs greatly among the climate zones and seasons, characterized by the enhanced ICE in arid regions and the growing season. In the arid climate zone, nearly all the irrigated areas show a lower daytime LST than the adjacent non-irrigated areas, leading to a strong ICE magnitude of >6 K in the growing season. In the humid climate zone, the impact of irrigation on LST is generally negligible, with a magnitude around zero throughout the year. This study provides observational evidence and a comprehensive assessment of the effect of irrigation on LST. The proposed ICED method has the potential to be used to study the spatiotemporal variation of the effect of irrigation on LST over other regions with intensive irrigation.