Landsat Collections

Landsat Collections Land Cloud Cover

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Landsat Collections Level-1 data contain two cloud cover scores:   Scene Cloud Cover and Land Cloud Cover.  These are listed in the metadata (.MTL.txt) file that is delivered with the Landsat Collections Level-1 product, and are also listed in the visible metadata on EarthExplorer.

Scene Cloud Cover is determined by the C Function of Mask (CFMask) algorithm. This algorithm provides a full-image “Scene Cloud Cover” estimation of the percentage of cloud cover calculated over an entire Landsat scene.   It is noted as  CLOUD_COVER in the MTL file.

Land Cloud Cover is determined by calculating the percentage of clouds over only the land pixels in a scene. A mask used to discriminate land from water is derived from the NOAA World Vector Shoreline Dataset.  It is noted as CLOUD_COVER_LAND in the MTL file.

For both scores, the values indicate the percentage of scene and land cloud cover (range is 0.00-100.00).+

The image below is an example for how the CLOUD COVER and the LAND CLOUD COVER scores are indicated in Landsat Collection Level-1 data. 

The metadata for this Landsat 8 scene, acquired of Path 4 Row 53 on April 9, 2019, indicates an overall Scene CLOUD COVER score of 17.07 percent, and a LAND CLOUD COVER score of 18.06. 


Landsat 8 Image Indicating Scene and Land Cloud Cover