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Radiometric normalization and image mosaic generation of ASTER thermal infrared...

Scheidt, S., M. Ramsey, and N. Lancaster (2008), Radiometric normalization and image mosaic generation of ASTER thermal infrared data: An application to extensive sand sheets and dune fields, Remote Sensing of Environment, 112, 920-933, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2007.06.020.

Data from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) have a significant advantage over previous datasets because of the combination of high spatial resolution (15–90 m) and enhanced multispectral capabilities, particularly in the thermal infrared (TIR) atmospheric window (8–12 μm) of the Earth where common silicate minerals are more easily identified. However, the 60 km swath width of ASTER can limit the effectiveness of accurately tracing large-scale features, such as eolian sediment transport pathways, over long distances. The primary goal of this paper is to describe a method for generating a seamless and radiometrically accurate ASTER TIR mosaic of atmospherically corrected radiance and from that, extract surface emissivity for arid lands, specifically, sand seas. The Gran Desierto in northern Sonora, Mexico was used as a test location for the radiometric normalization technique because of past remote sensing studies of the region, its compositional diversity, and its size. A linear approach was taken to transform adjacent image swaths into a direct linear relationship between image acquisition dates. Pseudo-invariant features (PIFs) were selected using a threshold of correlation between radiance values, and changepixels were excluded from the linear regression used to determine correction factors. The degree of spectral correlation between overlapping pixels is directly related to the amount of surface change over time; therefore, the gain and offsets between scenes were based only on regions of high spectral correlation. The result was a series of radiometrically normalized radiance-at-surface images that were combined with a minimum of image edge seams present. These edges were subsequently blended to create the final mosaic. The advantages of this approach for TIR radiance (as opposed to emissivity) data include the ability to: (1) analyze data acquired on different dates (with potentially very different surface temperatures) as one seamless compositional dataset; (2) perform decorrelation stretches (DCS) on the entire dataset in order to identify and discriminate compositional units; and (3) separate brightness temperature from surface emissivity for quantitative compositional analysis of the surface, reducing seam-line error in the emissivity mosaic. The approach presented here is valid for any ASTER-related study of large geographic regions where numerous images spanning different temporal and atmospheric conditions are encountered.

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Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)