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Sentinel-2 and WorldView-3 atmospheric correction and signal normalization based on ground-truth spectroradiometric measurements

January 23, 2021

Remote sensing satellite Earth Observing Systems (EOS) provide a variety of products for monitoring Earth surface processes at varying spatial and spectral resolutions. Combining information from high and medium spatial resolution images is valuable for monitoring ground cover and vegetation status in cropland, grassland, forests, and other natural settings. However, coupling information from different EOS requires compensating for atmospheric and view angle effects before integrating comparable surface reflectance (SR) values. The objectives of this study were i) to assess how different atmospheric constituents affect the atmospheric correction results in Sentinel-2 and WorldView-3 imagery, ii) to establish a relationship with field spectra measurements, and iii) to develop an empirical approach to ensure that SR values extracted from different EOS can be normalized for use in monitoring vegetation and land cover status. We compared surface reflectance values derived from Sentinel-2 images corrected with Sen2Cor, MODTRAN or FLAASH atmospheric correction approaches for the visible-to-near infrared regions. Additionally, this information was compared to SR values extracted from WorldView-3 imagery acquired from the same dates and location (Central Spain) and corrected with MODTRAN and FLAASH approaches. Assessment of the atmospheric correction was conducted by comparing satellite image SR with ground-truth spectra acquired with a FieldSpec hand-held spectroradiometer. The results emphasized the importance of using common atmospheric parameters collected from ancillary data sources (i.e. MODIS Atmosphere & Land products) to ensure a reliable SR comparison. When compared to field-collected spectral data, SR from corrected Sentinel-2 push-broom imagery showed a reliable match (<4% difference in the visible bands and <0.52% difference in the near infrared bands). However, SR imagery from the pointable WorldView-3 instrument showed significant deviation, likely resulting from the effects of steep off-nadir acquisition angles (24.6° to 39.1°) combined with surface anisotropy. The magnitude and sign of the deviation in SR differed depending on the vegetation type, wavelength and sun-surface-sensor geometry. Therefore, it was necessary to account for angular effects to ensure reliable comparisons of imagery from the different EOS. In this study, an empirical angular correction approach was developed based on calibrating each WorldView-3 band against the ground-truth spectra. This correction allowed for the accurate signal normalization of WorldView-3 and Sentinel-2 imagery SR in the visible-to-near infrared regions.

    Publication Year 2021
    Title Sentinel-2 and WorldView-3 atmospheric correction and signal normalization based on ground-truth spectroradiometric measurements
    DOI 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2021.01.009
    Authors J.L. Pancorbo, Brian T. Lamb, Miguel Quemada, W. Dean Hively, I. Gonzalez-Fernandez, Inigo Molina
    Publication Type Article
    Publication Subtype Journal Article
    Series Title ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
    Index ID 70217800
    Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
    USGS Organization Eastern Geographic Science Center; Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center