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Adaptation of the dark spectrum fitting atmospheric correction for aquatic applications of the Landsat and Sentinel-2 archives

Vanhellemont, Quinten
Remote sensing of environment 2019 v.225 pp. 175-192
Landsat, aerosols, automation, coastal water, inland waters, models, monitoring, reflectance, remote sensing, turbidity, North Sea
The dark spectrum fitting (DSF) atmospheric correction method for aquatic application of metre-scale resolution optical satellite imagery is adapted to Landsat and Sentinel-2 (L/S2), including an automated tiled processing of full scene imagery and an optional image based glint correction. The DSF uses multiple dark targets in the subscene to construct a “dark spectrum” which is used to estimate the atmospheric path reflectance (ρpath) according to the best fitting aerosol model. This method is fully automated and can be used for full mission archive processing, as demonstrated here for a study region in the North Sea. The new approach overcomes common issues with the SWIR based exponential extrapolation approach (EXP). An evaluation of both methods is presented using Lw measurements from 19 sites in the AERONET-OC network over a 15 year period and 5 satellite sensors. Overall, the DSF performs better than the EXP, with a notable improvement in the blue spectral region. The tiled processing allows for a smooth ρpath estimation for full and merged L/S2 scenes, over clear and turbid coastal waters, inland waters, and land. The DSF selects the most appropriate band automatically, i.e. the one giving the lowest atmospheric path reflectance, and hence largely avoids amplification of glint and adjacency effects in the atmospheric correction. After application of the DSF, sun glint reflectance can be estimated from the SWIR bands, and the application of a sun glint correction significantly improves data availability for these nadir viewing sensors. A consistent processing across sensors allows for the exploitation of the >30 year L/S2 archive, including Landsat 5 imagery dating back to 1984. A practical application of the DSF and the L/S2 archive is presented, where the remotely sensed water turbidity from 5 satellites is compared with in situ measurements from a long-term (2000–present) monitoring station in the southern North Sea.