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Need and vision for global medium-resolution Landsat and Sentinel-2 data products

January 1, 2024

Global changes in climate and land use are threatening natural ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem services people rely on. This is why it is necessary to track and monitor spatiotemporal change at a level of detail that can inform science, management, and policy development. The current constellation of multiple Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellites collecting imagery at predominantly ≤">≤30-m spatial resolution affords an opportunity for the generation of global medium- resolution products every few days. Our goal is to both identify the information needs and provide direction towards the generation of a suite of global, high-level, systematically-generated, medium-resolution products designed for both management and science. Our vision builds on the success of the NASA MODIS/VIIRS product suite, while recognizing the unique strengths of medium-resolution satellite data given their higher spatial resolution and longer time series. We propose a suite of 13 essential products that enable the characterization of the current state and changes in the biosphere, cryosphere, and hydrosphere, and would fill information needs identified by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites for the Global Climate Observing System and the Global Terrestrial Observing System, by the National Research Council of the US National Academies in the decadal survey, and by others. These products are: land cover, land cover change, burned area, forest loss, vegetation indices, phenology, dynamic habitat indices, albedo, land surface temperature, snow cover, ice extent, surface water extent, and evapotranspiration. Furthermore, we provide a list of desirable products poised for addition to the essential products (e.g., crop type, emissivity, and ice sheet velocity). Lastly, we suggest aspirational products requiring further algorithm development (e.g., forest structure and crop yield). For the identified essential products, algorithms are in place, making it feasible to begin generating products systematically. These products should be accompanied by quality and accuracy assessments undertaken following consensus protocols. Five decades after the first Landsat satellite, and two decades after the MODIS products were first produced, it is time now for readily available, standardized, and consistent high-level products built upon medium-resolution imagery, thereby fulfilling the promise and the vision that inspired the Landsat program since its inception.

Publication Year 2024
Title Need and vision for global medium-resolution Landsat and Sentinel-2 data products
DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2023.113918
Authors Volker C. Radeloff, David P. Roy, Mike Wulder, Martha Anderson, Bruce D. Cook, Christopher J. Crawford, Mark Friedl, Feng Gao, Noel Gorelick, Matthew Hansen, Sean Healey, Patrick Hostert, Glynn Hulley, Justin Huntington, Dave Johnson, Christopher Neigh, Alexei Lyapustin, Leo Lymburner, Nima Pahlevan, Jean-Francois Pekel, Theodore A. Scambos, Crystal Schaaf, Peter Strobl, Eric Vermote, Curtis Woodcock, Hankui K. Zhang, Zhe Zhu
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Remote Sensing of Environment
Index ID 70250215
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center