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March 28, 2022

Landsat Updates are prepared periodically and distributed electronically to provide information about Landsat activities and related topics of interest.

In this issue:


Pecora 22 Upcoming Meeting

The 22nd William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium (Pecora 22) will convene in Denver, Colorado, USA from October 23–28, 2022. The conference focuses on all aspects of Earth observation from sensors to decisions, spanning scientific discoveries to operational applications. The Pecora 22 conference also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Landsat satellite launch and its many accomplishments. The conference theme, Opening the Aperture to Innovation: Expanding Our Collective Understanding of a Changing Earth, embraces both the innovations and discoveries, encompassing past, present, and future innovations in science and technology that contribute to our understanding and management of Earth’s environment.

For more information see the conference website at Please direct questions to the Pecora 22 Technical Program Committee at

William T. Pecora Award Nominations
Pecora 2022 award flyer announcing call for nominations, due April 15, 2022. This image details the procedure for nominations, eligibility, and privacy statement. Visit this USGS page for eligibility requirements and the nomination process. 


Landsat 9 Mission Status

After the successful launch and commissioning phase, Landsat 9 data are processing freely from the USGS Earth Resources Observation Science (EROS) Center! Several milestones were achieved during commissioning, including all deployment activities of the spacecraft, a successful underfly with Landsat 8, orbit raising to WRS-2, and nominal calibrations and characterization of the sensors. Post-launch assessments have satisfied all mission requirements and Landsat 9 is approved for NASA’s project life-cycle “Operations and Sustainment.” Transition of mission and leadership is underway from NASA to the USGS with full completion expected this summer.


Landsat 9 Data Available

Landsat 9 image showing river along Afghanistan and Tajikistan border
Landsat 9 image of Panj River along Afghanistan and Tajikistan border. Path 154 Row 34. Date March 3, 2022, Bands 7, 5, 4.

Imagery from the newest satellite in the USGS Landsat fleet is now open and available to the world. Each of the more than 57,000 Earth surface images gathered by Landsat 9 since October 2021 were made available on the morning of February 10, 2022, through USGS EarthExplorer, Machine to Machine (M2M) application programming interface (API), LandsatLook Viewer, and commercial cloud.

The USGS provides a full range of data products from the new satellite’s observations. Level-1 and Level-2 data, full-resolution browse images, and U.S. Analysis Ready Data are available for Landsat 9 Collection 2. Landsat 9 will gather an additional 750 images each day, which are accessible to the public within 4-6 hours after acquisition. 

Landsat 9 detects more subtle differences than its predecessor, especially over darker areas such as water or dense forests. With this improved radiometric resolution, Landsat 9’s OLI can differentiate 16,384 shades of a given wavelength. In comparison, Landsat 8 provides 4,096 shades. Landsat 9 takes the place of Landsat 7, which only has 256 shades. Landsat 9’s TIRS, meanwhile, has significantly reduced stray light, enabling improved atmospheric correction for more accurate surface temperature measurements.

All commissioning and calibration activities show Landsat 9 performing just as well, if not better, than Landsat 8. In addition to routine calibration methods, an underfly of Landsat 9 with Landsat 8 in mid-November 2021 provided cross-calibration between the two satellites’ onboard instruments, ensuring data consistency across the Landsat Collection 2 archive.

All Landsat imagery and satellite acquisitions from Landsat 9 are processed, archived, and distributed from the USGS EROS Center. Since 2008, the USGS Landsat Archive has provided more than 100 million images to data users around the world, free of charge. The program’s unique long-term data record provides the basis for a critical understanding of environmental and climate changes occurring around the world.

To learn more about accessing Landsat data and science products, visit the Landsat Data Access page.

Contact USGS Customer Service with questions or to verify data availability.


Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Science Products Available

Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Dynamic Surface Water Extent, Burned Area, Fractional Snow Covered Area, and Fractional Snow Covered Area Statistics products are available for download from the USGS. These higher-level science products are research-quality and applications ready and reduce the upfront processing time users needed to prepare tiles for examination.

These Level-3 science products are generated from Collection 2 Analysis Ready Data (ARD) inputs.  

Landsat Collection 2 DSWE Example
Example of the Landsat Collection 2 Dynamic Surface Water Science Product showing the Confluence of the Wabash and Ohio Rivers on April 12, 2021,for tile h021V010. Left: Landsat Collection 2 U.S. Analysis Ready Data Surface Reflectance image, Right: Dynamic Surface Water Extent (INTR layer)

Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) Aquatic researchers require current habitat information, especially surface water extent. A variety of environmental processes impact surface water extent including meteorology, hydrology, and geology processes. DSWE provides raster layers that represent surface water inundation per pixel for Landsat data acquired from 1984-present, for the conterminous (CONUS) United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Aquatic scientists and water resource managers harness Landsat data to predict and understand impacts by changes in surface water extent.

Burned Area Precise and polished data on fire occurrences are essential to understanding burned area trends for Landsat data acquired from 1984- present, for CONUS. The Burned Area product enables users to identify burned areas across all ecosystems including forests, shrublands, and grasslands. The product identifies per pixel burn classification and burn probability. Utilizing the Burned Area product, Landsat data users can quantify patterns of fire occurrences and project future fire trends.

Fractional Snow Covered Area (fSCA) Landsat’s spatial resolution offers the capability to resolve snow cover patterns across topographically complex mountainous regions. Snow cover is spatially and temporally variable and is often concentrated in remote or inaccessible land regions making spaceborne remote sensing the most feasible approach to measure and monitor snow cover change. Available for the Northern and Western areas of CONUS for Landsat data acquired 1984-present, fSCA products provide per-pixel fractional snow cover maps that indicate the percentage of a pixel covered by snow. 

fSCA Statistics fSCA mean snow cover fraction and clear pixel count statistics will become available mid-2022.  The fSCA Statistics provide information for unique time steps for 1984—present. These time steps include 5-year date ranges and the entire ARD stack period. Each fSCA Statistic package contains monthly (entire ARD stack only), annual, and mean annual viewable or ground snow cover statistics files for each unique time step, over a single tile location.

Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Dynamic Surface Water Extent, Burned Area, and Fractional Snow Covered Area products can be downloaded from EarthExplorer (EE). On EE’s Data Set tab, the products are located under the Landsat category, and listed in the Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Science Products subcategory.

More information about Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Science Products can be found on the following webpages:

Users are encouraged to contact USGS Customer Services with any questions about Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Science Products.


Landsat Archive Reaches 10 Million Scenes

10 Millionth Landsat Image
On November 23, 2021, the Landsat Archive added its ten millionth image. The Landsat 7 scene was acquired over the Dead Sea and is shown as a false color image using the short-wave infrared, near infrared, and red bands (Bands 5, 4, 3).

Since 1972, Landsat Program has continually captured data of Earth. At the end of November 2021, the Landsat Archive that stores this vital record added its ten millionth scene. The history of the area on display in that milestone scene offers insight into the value of the Landsat Program’s longevity to the scientific community.

In a twenty-second video clip that strings together scenes from nearly five decades, the Dead Sea slowly shrinks, creating an orbital view more akin to a pair of saline lakes than a single body of salt water. Landsat 7 captured the final image, which is the celebrated 10 millionth scene.

Over time, irrigation and other water-intensive projects using the Jordan River reduce the amount of water reaching the Dead Sea. What once was 1.3 billion cubic meters of fresh water flowing into the salty body of water is now 100 million cubic meters, about a 93 percent reduction. Over the past 50 years, Landsat satellites watched the water level drop by 45 meters.

With reduced water intake, the sea grows saltier every year. The Dead Sea has no outlet, so when the evaporated water leaves, minerals and salts once suspended in the liquid remain. Overall, the hypersaline lake yields 34 percent salinity, which is ten times saltier than the average ocean.

While the water has declined, the potash industry on the south side of the lake has increased. Dead Sea salts are found in a wide range of products including cosmetics, bath salts, and road de-icing agents. Current studies estimate continued water decline would jeopardize potash, resulting in operations costs too expensive to render it sustainable or profitable.


Landsat Science Team Holds Winter Meeting

The Landsat Science Team met virtually on February 9, 2022. Topics included but were not limited to: Landsat 9 operations, calibration, and data release plans; Landsat 7 mission status; Landsat and Sentinel harmonization; and the future of land imaging. 

The meeting agenda and links to the presentations reviewed during the meeting can be found on the Landsat Science Team Meeting page.


Landsat in the Cloud Use Cases

In December 2020, the Landsat Archive became available in the commercial cloud environment. Do you access or process Landsat data in the cloud? We would love to hear from you about your experiences with usage so we can better understand successes and/or challenges with Landsat cloud data. We are especially interested in newer capabilities such as your own cloud-based analysis workflows or other approaches enabled by Cloud Optimized GeoTIFF (COG) format and Spatio Temporal Asset Catalog (STAC) records.

If you do not use Landsat data in the cloud, we would love to hear from you also. What barriers are stopping you from accessing or processing data in the cloud?  What can we do to help you? 

If you are interested in discussing Landsat in the cloud, please contact us at or 800-252-4547. A customer services representative will follow up to have a conversation and capture your experiences. 

For more information about Landsat in the commercial cloud, please visit


Landsat Recent Popular Social Media Posts

Find the latest updates on our social media pages. On the left, a recent Instagram post shared on February 12 announcing that Landsat 9 data is now available. On the right, a recent Facebook post shared on February 17 highlighted the first Landsat 9 image downloaded from the Archive.

Social Media Posts

Upcoming Conferences/Meetings

European Space Agency (ESA) Living Planet Symposium: May 23 — 27, 2022; Bonn, Germany

22nd William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium (Pecora 22): October 23 — 28, 2022; Denver, Colorado


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