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ESPA now includes Landsat Collection 2 Normalized Difference Snow Index

October 25, 2021

A new science product easily separates snow from vegetation in processed Landsat Collection 2 scenes from 1982 to present.

Derived from Landsat Collection 2 Surface Reflectance data, Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) products are produced using scenes that can successfully process to Landsat Collection 2 Level-2 Surface Reflectance products. The NDSI science product is the normalized difference between spectral bands green (G) and the shortwave infrared (SWIR). NDSI is useful for separating snow from vegetation, soils, and other spectral signatures.

Example of Landsat Collection 2 Normalized Difference Snow Index
This graphic shows an example of the Landsat Collection 2 Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) in the Boise National Forest, Idaho. Left: Landsat Collection 2 Surface Reflectance; Right: Landsat Collection 2 NDSI

The NDSI algorithm uses Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) Bands 2 and 5, whereas for Landsat 8 Operational Land Imagery (OLI) Bands 3 and 6 are used. NDSI is delivered as a single band product available through the USGS EROS Science Processing Architecture (ESPA) On Demand Interface.

Details about the NDSI are available at

ESPA also allows users to request customized Landsat Collection 2 Level-1 and Level-2 data. This includes the ability to specify file format options, change projection and pixel size, and request spatial subsetting.

Please note, on-demand generation of standard Collection 2 Level-2 Surface Reflectance or Surface Temperature products are not available from ESPA. These products are available for immediate download via EarthExplorer.

Contact USGS EROS Customer Services with any questions about the NDSI product.

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