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Radiometric Calibration Methodology of the Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor

Sigma Space Corporation, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Catholic University of America, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(9), 8803-8821;
Received: 6 August 2014 / Revised: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 19 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landsat-8 Sensor Characterization and Calibration)
PDF [711 KB, uploaded 19 September 2014]


The science-focused mission of the Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) requires that it have an accurate radiometric calibration. A calibration methodology was developed to convert the raw output from the instrument into an accurate at-aperture radiance. The methodology is based on measurements obtained during component-level and instrument-level characterization testing. The radiometric accuracy from the pre-flight measurements was estimated to be approximately 0.7%. The calibration parameters determined pre-flight were updated during the post-launch checkout period by utilizing the on-board calibration sources and Earth scene data. These relative corrections were made to adjust for differences between the pre-flight and the on-orbit performance of the instrument, thereby correcting large striping artifacts observed in Earth imagery. Despite this calibration correction, banding artifacts (low frequency variation in the across-track direction) have been observed in certain uniform Earth scenes, but not in other uniform scenes. In addition, the absolute calibration performance determined from vicarious measurements have revealed a time-varying error to the absolute radiance reported by TIRS. These issues were determined to not be caused by the calibration process developed for the instrument. Instead, an investigation has revealed that stray light is affecting the recorded signal from the Earth. The varying optical stray light effect is an ongoing subject of evaluation and investigation, and a correction strategy is being devised that will be added to the calibration process. View Full-Text
Keywords: Landsat; TIRS; radiometric calibration Landsat; TIRS; radiometric calibration

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Montanaro, M.; Lunsford, A.; Tesfaye, Z.; Wenny, B.; Reuter, D. Radiometric Calibration Methodology of the Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 8803-8821.

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