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Proceedings Paper

Validation of a web-based atmospheric correction tool for single thermal band instruments
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Paper Abstract

An atmospheric correction tool has been developed on a public access web site for the thermal band of the Landsat-5 and Landsat-7 sensors. The Atmospheric Correction Parameter Calculator uses the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) modeled atmospheric global profiles interpolated to a particular date, time and location as input. Using MODTRAN radiative transfer code and a suite of integration algorithms, the site-specific atmospheric transmission, and upwelling and downwelling radiances are derived. These calculated parameters can be applied to single band thermal imagery from Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper (TM) or Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) to infer an at-surface kinetic temperature for every pixel in the scene. The derivation of the correction parameters is similar to the methods used by the independent Landsat calibration validation teams at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at Rochester Institute of Technology. This paper presents a validation of the Atmospheric Correction Parameter Calculator by comparing the top-of-atmosphere temperatures predicted by the two teams to those predicted by the Calculator. Initial comparisons between the predicted temperatures showed a systematic error of greater then 1.5K in the Calculator results. Modifications to the software have reduced the bias to less then 0.5 ± 0.8K. Though not expected to perform quite as well globally, the tool provides a single integrated method of calculating atmospheric transmission and upwelling and downwelling radiances that have historically been difficult to derive. Even with the uncertainties in the NCEP model, it is expected that the Calculator should predict atmospheric parameters that allow apparent surface temperatures to be derived within ±2K globally, where the surface emissivity is known and the atmosphere is relatively clear. The Calculator is available at

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 August 2005
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 5882, Earth Observing Systems X, 58820E (22 August 2005);
Show Author Affiliations
Julia A. Barsi, SSAI, NASA/GSFC (United States)
John R. Schott, Rochester Institute of Technology (United States)
Frank D. Palluconi, NASA/JPL (United States)
Simon J. Hook, NASA/JPL (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5882:
Earth Observing Systems X
James J. Butler, Editor(s)

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