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Landsat Surface Reflectance

Landsat Surface Reflectance measures the fraction of incoming solar radiation reflected from Earth's surface to the Landsat sensor. 

Return to Landsat Science Products Overview

Surface reflectance improves comparison between multiple images over the same region by accounting for atmospheric effects such as aerosol scattering and thin clouds, which can help in the detection and characterization of Earth surface change. Surface reflectance is generated from Level-1 inputs that meet the <76 degrees Solar Zenith Angle constraint and include the required auxiliary data inputs to generate a scientifically viable product.

Landsat surface reflectance data are available globally for the following instruments:

  • Landsat 9 Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2): October 2021 to present
  • Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI): April 2013 to present
  • Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+): July 1999 to April 2022
  • Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM): March 1984 to May 2012
  • Landsat 4 Thematic Mapper (TM): July 1982 to December 1993

Please note that Level-2 Multispectral Scanner (MSS) surface reflectance products will only become available upon the maturity of an operational atmospheric compensation algorithm which satisfies the USGS Landsat program requirements.

Summary of Enhancement and Improvements 

A summary of the enhancements and improvements between Collection 1 and Collection 2 is provided in this quick reference guide.