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Remote Sensing Experiments for Earth System Science

A Special Issue from International Journal of Digital Earth

About this Special Issue

The global energy, water, and carbon budgets are fundamental constituent cycles within the Earth system, which can be observed through various remote sensors, e.g. microwave, optical and thermal instruments onboard different experimental and operational platforms. The observations with a physical connection to the evolution of atmosphere, land and ocean variables will promote the coupling of remote sensing into Earth system research. Past research was limited by the resolutions of sensors and processing power, however there has been a rapid advance in remote sensing and computational capacities, thus bringing us towards a digital Earth system with high spatiotemporal resolution and improved accuracies. This has allowed for an improved understanding of the evolution of variables, such as radiation, precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, biomass, lakes, permafrost and snow as well as a better ability to predictive understanding of the behavior of unique domains, such as the Tibetan plateau, polar regions in the context of global changes.

Large scale experimentation (e.g. ground-based instruments, in situ networks, and airborne observations) plays a significant role in the calibration and validation of remote sensing models and algorithms, and promote the advancement of soil science, hydrology, ecology, oceanography and other related disciplines, addressing a broad variety of Earth science questions. Remote sensing experiments have been conducted for many years and produce invaluable outcomes for the development of new missions and new products, like the Soil Moisture Active and Passive Validation Experiment (SMAPVEX) conducted in North America in 2008, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019/20 separately for supporting the validation and application of the mission products, and the Terrestrial Hydrology Experiment 2018 in Mexico (THEx-MEX18) towards crop monitoring. Coincidentally, a comprehensive remote sensing experiment towards carbon, water and energy cycle studies was conducted in China, including a special Soil Moisture Experiment in the Luan River in 2018 (SMELR18). For the cryosphere, the Snow Experiment (SnowEx) campaigns were conducted for exploring new approaches for mapping snow characteristics, while snow and seasonal frozen ground field experiments for microwave remote sensing were also carried out in Altay of China since 2017. The availability of those experimental data allows researchers to study the radiative transfer modeling for remote sensing, the retrieval algorithms of remote sensing products, and their application in Earth system science.

In this special issue, we invite contributions on recent studies related to large scale field experiments as they pertain to a better understanding of our Earth systems. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Review or design on remote sensing experiments for Earth system studies
  • Field measurements of geophysical variables and validation of remote sensing products
  • Development and validation of theoretical models through experimental data
  • Retrieval algorithm development and evaluation based on experimental research
  • Data fusion and downscaling approaches towards a higher spatiotemporal resolution
  • Application of remote sensing experimental data for Earth system studies
International Society for Digital Earth
International Journal of Digital Earth

Submissions Information

Important Dates

April 30, 2020, 800-word abstract submission to guest editors

May 15, 2020, full paper submission invited

August 30, 2020, full paper submitting online

October 30, 2020, revision/rejection notification

December 30, 2020, paper acceptance notification

Submission Guidelines

The International Journal of Digital Earth is an international peer-reviewed academic journal (SCI-E with an impact factor 3.985 in 2019) focusing on the theories, technologies, applications, and societal implications of Digital Earth and those visionary concepts that will enable a modeled virtual world.

Submissions must follow the instructions to authors outlined on the Taylor & Francis web page for the International Journal of Digital Earth found: here. Word templates are available on the web site and papers are typically 5000‐8000 words in length.

You SHOULD send the title and abstract of your manuscript to the guest editor Dr. Tianjie Zhao (zhaotj@aircas.ac.cn) for pre-review. After all guest editors’ approval, you can then submit the full manuscript online at the International Journal of Digital Earth's Manuscript Central Site: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijde. New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site submissions should be made via the Author Centre. Please indicate the paper is submitted to Special Issue on “Remote Sensing Experiments for Earth System Science” in the cover letter.

Each paper will receive comments from at least three reviewers. The special issue will include 8-10 papers.

We look forward to your contributions. Please do not hesitate to contact the Guest Editors in case of questions.

Aims & Scope Instructions for Authors Submit Now


TJDE Editor-in-Chief: Guo Huadong – Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China


Guest Editors

Tianjie Zhao, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Michael Cosh, USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory 

Alexandre Roy, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières 

Yubao Qiu, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences 

Xihan Mu, Beijing Normal University 

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