The ability to detect and quantify changes in the Earth's environment depends on sensors that can provide calibrated, consistent measurements of the Earth's surface features through time. A critical step in this process is to put image data from different sensors onto a common radiometric scale. This work focuses on monitoring the long-term on-orbit calibration stability of the Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Landsat 7 (L7) Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensors using the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) reference standard pseudo-invariant test sites (Libya 4, Mauritania 1/2, Algeria 3, Libya 1, and Algeria 5). These sites have been frequently used as radiometric targets because of their relatively stable surface conditions temporally. This study was performed using all cloud-free calibrated images from the Terra MODIS and the L7 ETM+ sensors, acquired from launch to December 2008. Homogeneous regions of interest (ROI) were selected in the calibrated images and the mean target statistics were derived from sensor measurements in terms of top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance. For each band pair, a set of fitted coefficients (slope and offset) is provided to monitor the long-term stability over very stable pseudo-invariant test sites. The average percent differences in intercept from the long-term trends obtained from the ETM + TOA reflectance estimates relative to the MODIS for all the CEOS reference standard test sites range from 2.5% to 15%. This gives an estimate of the collective differences due to the Relative Spectral Response (RSR) characteristics of each sensor, bi-directional reflectance distribution function (BRDF), spectral signature of the ground target, and atmospheric composition. The lifetime TOA reflectance trends from both sensors over 10 years are extremely stable, changing by no more than 0.4% per year in its TOA reflectance over the CEOS reference standard test sites. ?? 2009 Elsevier Inc.
Additional publication details
Monitoring on-orbit calibration stability of the Terra MODIS and Landsat 7 ETM+ sensors using pseudo-invariant test sites