Optical EngineeringAccuracy of land surface elevation from CALIPSO mission data
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We assess the accuracy of land surface elevation retrieved from the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) mission through comparisons with the U.S. Geological Survey National Elevation Dataset (NED), Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), and the altimetry product from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System onboard the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat). The vertical accuracy of the CALIPSO-derived land surface elevation was tested against these three datasets for about 16 million lidar shots over the continental United States. The results show that the CALIPSO-derived elevation was highly correlated with the elevation result from the NED, SRTM, and ICESat datasets. The overall absolute vertical accuracies of the CALIPSO-derived land surface elevation expressed as the root mean square error (RMSE) are 5.58 and 5.90 m when compared with the SRTM and NED results, respectively. Lower accuracy of the CALIPSO-derived land surface elevation was achieved by comparison with the ICESat results (8.35-m RMSE), primarily due to the several kilometers distance between the CALIPSO and ICESat ground footprints. The results show that the variability in terrain, vegetation, canopy, and footprint size can all influence comparisons between the CALIPSO-derived elevation and the results obtained from NED, SRTM, and ICESat datasets.