Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Characterization of the Sonoran desert as a radiometric calibration target for Earth observing sensors

January 1, 2013

To provide highly accurate quantitative measurements of the Earth's surface, a comprehensive calibration and validation of the satellite sensors is required. The NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Characterization Support Team, in collaboration with United States Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, has previously demonstrated the use of African desert sites to monitor the long-term calibration stability of Terra MODIS and Landsat 7 (L7) Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+). The current study focuses on evaluating the suitability of the Sonoran Desert test site for post-launch long-term radiometric calibration as well as cross-calibration purposes. Due to the lack of historical and on-going in situ ground measurements, the Sonoran Desert is not usually used for absolute calibration. An in-depth evaluation (spatial, temporal, and spectral stability) of this site using well calibrated L7 ETM+ measurements and local climatology data has been performed. The Sonoran Desert site produced spatial variability of about 3 to 5% in the reflective solar regions, and the temporal variations of the site after correction for view-geometry impacts were generally around 3%. The results demonstrate that, barring the impacts due to occasional precipitation, the Sonoran Desert site can be effectively used for cross-calibration and long-term stability monitoring of satellite sensors, thus, providing a good test site in the western hemisphere.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Characterization of the Sonoran desert as a radiometric calibration target for Earth observing sensors
DOI 10.1117/1.3613963
Authors Amit Angal, Gyanesh Chander, Xiaoxiong Xiong, Tae-young Choi, Aisheng Wu
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Applied Remote Sensing
Index ID 70043233
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center