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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(9), 696; doi:10.3390/rs8090696

A Software Tool for Atmospheric Correction and Surface Temperature Estimation of Landsat Infrared Thermal Data

1
CESBIO, Université de Toulouse, CNES/CNRS/IRD/UPS, 18 av. Edouard Belin, bpi 2801, F-31401 Toulouse Cedex 9, France
2
CNES, 18 av. Edouard Belin, F-31400 Toulouse, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Dongdong Wang, Richard Müller and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 25 March 2016 / Revised: 1 August 2016 / Accepted: 2 August 2016 / Published: 24 August 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6128 KB, uploaded 24 August 2016]   |  

Abstract

Land surface temperature (LST) is an important variable involved in the Earth’s surface energy and water budgets and a key component in many aspects of environmental research. The Landsat program, jointly carried out by NASA and the USGS, has been recording thermal infrared data for the past 40 years. Nevertheless, LST data products for Landsat remain unavailable. The atmospheric correction (AC) method commonly used for mono-window Landsat thermal data requires detailed information concerning the vertical structure (temperature, pressure) and the composition (water vapor, ozone) of the atmosphere. For a given coordinate, this information is generally obtained through either radio-sounding or atmospheric model simulations and is passed to the radiative transfer model (RTM) to estimate the local atmospheric correction parameters. Although this approach yields accurate LST data, results are relevant only near this given coordinate. To meet the scientific community’s demand for high-resolution LST maps, we developed a new software tool dedicated to processing Landsat thermal data. The proposed tool improves on the commonly-used AC algorithm by incorporating spatial variations occurring in the Earth’s atmosphere composition. The ERA-Interim dataset (ECMWFmeteorological organization) was used to retrieve vertical atmospheric conditions, which are available at a global scale with a resolution of 0.125 degrees and a temporal resolution of 6 h. A temporal and spatial linear interpolation of meteorological variables was performed to match the acquisition dates and coordinates of the Landsat images. The atmospheric correction parameters were then estimated on the basis of this reconstructed atmospheric grid using the commercial RTMsoftware MODTRAN. The needed surface emissivity was derived from the common vegetation index NDVI, obtained from the red and near-infrared (NIR) bands of the same Landsat image. This permitted an estimation of LST for the entire image without degradation in resolution. The software tool, named LANDARTs, which stands for Landsat automatic retrieval of surface temperatures, is fully automatic and coded in the programming language Python. In the present paper, LANDARTs was used for the local and spatial validation of surface temperature obtained from a Landsat dataset covering two climatically contrasting zones: southwestern France and central Tunisia. Long-term datasets of in situ surface temperature measurements for both locations were compared to corresponding Landsat LST data. This temporal comparison yielded RMSE values ranging from 1.84 ° C–2.55 ° C. Landsat surface temperature data obtained with LANDARTs were then spatially compared using the ASTER data products of kinetic surface temperatures (AST08) for both geographical zones. This comparison yielded a satisfactory RMSE of about 2.55 ° C. Finally, a sensitivity analysis for the effect of spatial validation on the LST correction process showed a variability of up to 2 ° C for an entire Landsat image, confirming that the proposed spatial approach improved the accuracy of Landsat LST estimations. View Full-Text
Keywords: land surface temperature; Landsat; software tool; atmospheric correction; thermal infrared remote sensing; emissivity land surface temperature; Landsat; software tool; atmospheric correction; thermal infrared remote sensing; emissivity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tardy, B.; Rivalland, V.; Huc, M.; Hagolle, O.; Marcq, S.; Boulet, G. A Software Tool for Atmospheric Correction and Surface Temperature Estimation of Landsat Infrared Thermal Data. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 696.

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